Shackleton : The James Caird Society

 

SHACKLETON MEMORABILIA

Latest     Films     Meetings     Exhibitions     Heritage     Antarctic     South Georgia
Irish     Memorabilia     Arts     Travel     International     Expeditions
Archive     Forum     Education     Directory     Feedback

SWEDISH POLAR STAMP ISSUE

On 24th January 2002 the Swedish Post Office issued a pair of stamps to
commemorate the centenary of the first Swedish Antarctic expedition led by Dr Otto Nordenskjöld, which sailed to Antarctica on the whaler Antarctic (commanded by the Norwegian whaling captain Carl Anton Larsen).

An exhibit showing the very interesting postal history of the expedition opened at the Postal Museum in Stockholm on 20th March 2002.



 

ROSS DEPENDENCY STAMPS

The webmaster of the New Zealand-based 'Antarctic Link' website has written to say: 'You might be interested in the recent issue of Ross Dependency stamps - the set of six use wonderful original photos from the first Discovery expedition and the 40c stamp has, I believe, a photo of the three 'southern trekkers' including Shackleton.'

In fact, Shackleton and Endurance are both commemorated on the $1.50c stamp.

The letter goes on: 'Should any of your members wish to visit us in Christchurch and Lyttelton (or you might even like to arrange a group trip here) please let me know and I'll see if I can coordinate meetings with some of our resident scientists and historians, including those presently or formerly connected with Heritage Expeditions, the conserving of the Ross Sea Historic Sites and the curating of the Antarctic Section of the Canterbury Museum.'

 

SHACKLETON CELEBRATORY STAMPS

Three stamps of British Antarctic Territory, issued by the Falkland Island Philatelic Bureau, honour Shackleton and illustrate the story of Endurance and the James Caird.

 

CHRISTIE'S IN LONDON HOST THE 2010 POLAR SALE

MANY ITEMS OF ANTARCTIC INTEREST REACH OR BETTER THEIR RESERVE PRICE

The London auctioneers Christie's again staged a Polar Sale in September 2010. Many items with connections to Scott or Shackleton were included.

Of especial interest to Shackleton enthusiasts were the following:

Emily Shackleton's scrapbook, signed and inscribed, which was sold as part of the Shackleton Collection at Christie's in 2001, and sold here for £6,250 (estimate £6-8,000).

Christie's full listing read as follows: "Emily Shackleton's scrapbook, signed and inscribed 'Emily M. Shackleton 11 Vicarage Gate W' on front free endpaper, including two watercolours by George Marston ('Nimrod in the Antarctic' and 'Antarctic coastal landscape') both signed 'Geo Marston'; with two pages from S.Y. Nimrod's visitor's book, one dated 'Cowes August 4th 1907', with signatures of the King and Queen and others, the other dated '4 August 1907', with thirteen miscellaneous signatures.

One page inscribed by Emily 'S.Y. Endurance West India Docks July 16th 1914' and signed by the Dowager Queen Alexandra and her sister Maria Feodorovna and the Princess Victoria, one page inscribed by Emily 'S.Y. Endurance leaving West India Dock 1st August 1914' and signed by Worsley, Jeffrey, Hudson, Rickinson and Cheetham, one page signed and inscribed 'A. de Gerlache de Gomery designer of the Endurance wishing her all possible luck and succes (sic) I-VII-14' and one page inscribed by Emily 'S.Y. Endurance leaving West India Dock. August 1st 1914' and signed by Shackleton, Wild, Marston, Lees, Ernest Wild, Crean, Fritz Dobbs, Hussey and Aeneas Mackintosh.

With nine loose photographs, including seven of the Dowager Queen Alexandra's inspection of S.Y. Endurance, 16 July 1914, and a photograph of two pages of the Bible given by Queen Alexandra to Shackleton and the officers of the Endurance, 31 July, 1914; the album bound in the original blue crushed morocco gilt, by A. Webster & Co."

Some Hurley photographs realised £2,500 (estimate was £800-1,200). The full entry was: "A collection of photographs of the Endurance and the Antarctic by Frank Hurley (1885-1962) from the collection of Sir Philip Lee Brocklehurst, Shackleton's friend and geological assistant on the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909."

The photographs, all inkstamped on the versos 'NEWSPAPER ILLUSTRATIONS LIMITED', appear to date from December 1916, shortly after Hurley's return to London on 11 November 1916, and one bears a stamp embargoing publication until 18 December 1916."

A painting by George Marston: New Coastline West of Cape North, taken from the Nimrod on 8 March 1909; watercolour on paper, 8½ x 21¼in. (21.6 x 53.9cm.) achieved £3,500 (estimate £3-4,000). Shackleton wrote of this in The Heart of the Antarctic, p.229: 'I wanted to push between the Balleny Islands and the mainland, and make an attempt to follow the coastline from Cape North westward, so as to link it up with Adelie Land. No ship had ever succeeded in penetrating to the westward of Cape North... On the morning of March 8 we saw, beyond Cape North, a new coast-line extending first to the southwards and then to the west for a distance of over forty miles. We took angles and bearings, and Marston sketched the main outlines. We were too far away to take any photographs that would have been of value, but the sketches show very clearly the type of land.'

Another Marston painting, Sledging camp in a blizzard, oil on venesta board, 10 x 12½cm. (25.4 x 31.7cm.) and stencilled 'BRITISH ANTARCTI[C]/EXPEDITION 1907' on the reverse. The painting shows a blizzard on Mt. Erebus: it was painted by Marston at Cape Royds in 1908 on a piece of one of the Nimrod expedition's packing cases. Marston (1882-1940) was in the party of six led by Jameson Adams which made the first ascent of Mt Erebus in March 1908.

Eric Stewart Marshall's High Speed camera no. HS1750 by Newman and Guardia, London quarter-plate, black-leather covered body, metal-fittings, focusing screen and magazine back, with a Carl Zeiss, Jena Planar f/3.8 130mm. lens no. 65608 set into a pneumatic shutter, in maker's fitted leather case; spare Newman and Guardia magazine back.

Shackleton recorded that the Nimrod expedition's southern party took 'One camera and three dozen plates (quarter-plate by Newman and Guardia)' amongst the scientific equipment on their four sledges. MARSHALL'S PRESENT NEWMAN AND GUARDIA CAMERA, EXCLUSIVELY FOR QUARTER-PLATES, IS IN ALL LIKELIHOOD THE CAMERA TAKEN ON THE SOUTHERN JOURNEY IN 1908-09.

Christie's full notes explain: "The Newman & Guardia High Speed camera was introduced in 1899 and was listed up to 1911. 'Shackleton had purchased nine still cameras of varying types -- including a stereoscopic model and one with a 'telephotographic apparatus' -- as well as a cinematographic camera. A number of the men also brought their own cameras, and at least nine of them took photographs using no fewer than fifteen cameras. Eric Stewart Marshall (1879-1963), who was in charge of the cinematograph, later estimated that 4,000 feet of film were shot. Despite the introduction of roll-film cameras, a high proportion of serious photographers still used bulky, dry-plate cameras, and there were several of those on the expedition. There were also smaller, portable, roll-film cameras."

'Regardless of what camera was used, photography was not an easy process in Antarctica's freezing temperatures and long periods of darkness. Marshall found that when the temperature dropped to thirty degrees below freezing, cameras stopped functioning because the oil had frozen. He therefore made a point of removing the oil from all of them. The temperature similarly affected other stages of the process. Most of the developing and printing was carried out by Brocklehurst or Mawson, both of whom found glass plates easier to work with because film became brittle in extreme cold.' (B. Riffenburgh, p.184).

An address of welcome to 'Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton C.V.O., Commander of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907' from the Inhabitants of the Urban District of Ilford, Essex, 10 March 1910, signed by the Council's Chairman, H.M. Thornton, two leaves set in card mounts, 4to (300 x 268mm), illuminated manuscript on paper by Shaw & Sons, London, the address written in a calligraphic hand within foliate border in gold and watercolours, with red papered seal (faint spotting to card endleaves). Green leather gilt (slight wear to extemities). Provenance: Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922); and thence by descent.

£750 was fetched (estimate £800-1,200)by this decorative address card in which the inhabitants of Ilford, Essex honour Shackleton's services to the British Nation, his 'brilliant achievement of penetrating to within 100 miles of the South Pole and planting the British Flag in that unexplored region'. It expresses appreciation of his 'stedfastness of purpose, that capacity of surmounting almost impassable barriers, and that utter disregard of personal discomfort which we are proud to think is an attribute of the Englishman'.

Douglas Mawson's specimen box, signed with initials, inscribed and dated 'Specimens from New Zealand 1928 D.M.' on a label and numbered(?) '07' on the front wood and metal, 17¾ x 18 x 5 5/8in. (45 x 45.6 x 14.3cm.) - one of 47 wooden specimen boxes made for Mawson, the expedition geologist on Shackleton's Nimrod expedition, easily exceeded its estimate (£4-600), fetching £2,000. It was given by Mawson to the Tate Museum, Geology Department, University of Adelaide, in 1928.

The South Polar Times. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1907-1914. edited by ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1874-1922), LOUIS C. BERNACCHI (1876-1940), AND APSLEY GEORGE BENET CHERRY-GARRARD (1886-1959).

A COMPLETE SET OF THIS CORNERSTONE TO ANY COLLECTION OF PRINTED WORKS ON ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION. 3 volumes, 4° (275 x 210mm).

Half-titles. Titles in red and black (vols. I-II), text and title in red and blue (vol. III), plates and illustrations, some chromolithographic, after Herbert Ponting, Edward Wilson and others. (Gutta percha of bindings perished and consequently text-block cracked at part III in vol. I, with 32 leaves loose, 3 leaves loose in vol. II.) Original blue ribbed cloth, spines lettered in gilt, the upper covers with gilt lettering and rope-work surrounding centrally-placed inset pictorial cloth panels, gilt edges (extremities lightly rubbed).

Volumes I and II are both from the limited edition of 250 copies, these copies numbered 128. Volume III is from an edition limited to 350 copies, this copy numbered 45. Volumes I and II are an exact reproduction of the original which appeared month by month during the winters of 1902 and 1903, edited by Sir Ernest Shackleton and Louis Bernacchi, with articles, stories, poems and drawings supplied by various members of the National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-1904. Volume III is a facsimile of the 'magazine', edited by Cherry-Garrard, and produced during the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1913.

THE HEART OF THE ANTARCTIC by ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1847-1922). Being the story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-9. London: William Heinemann, 1909. FIRST EDITION, NUMBER 4 OF 300 Copies SIGNED BY ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SHORE PARTY.

2 Volumes (without the supplement The Antarctic Book Winter Quarters 1907-9, 4° (269 X 225MM). Half-titles, titles (to vols I and II) in brown and black. Plates (4 double-page, 6 etched plates by George Marston, 18 mounted including 16 coloured after George Marston. One folding panorama and three folding lithographic , maps in separate cloth portfolio illustrations, (The maps in portfolio with very short splits at folds, but without loss.) Original vellum, spines and upper covers lettered in gilt, top edges gilt, others uncut (vellum very lightly soiled, covers a fraction warped, cloth portfolio spotted). Provenance: Raymond E. Priestley.

Sir Raymond Edward Priestley (1886-1974), geologist to the Nimrod expedition, later joined Scott's Terra Nova expedition, where Wright was the physicist and glaciologist. Priestley later married Wright's sister, and was co-founder of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.

 

CHRISTIE'S EXPLORATION AND POLAR SALE, AUTUMN 2006

The Exploration, Travel and Polar Sale, including this year the sale of The Amundsen Collection, took place on 27 September at Christie’s, King St., London WC2.

As usual, the items on sale included a number of keen interest to Shackleton enthusiasts.

Shackleton's ship The Nimrod
A painting of the S.Y. Nimrod, the vessel used on Shackleton’s 1907-1909 Antarctic expedition. The painting is an unframed watercolour, heightened with white. English School (artist unspecified, circa 1907): estimated at £700-£1,000.

A rare, limited edition of the book Antarctic Days: Sketches of the homely side of Polar life, by James Murray (1865-1914) and George Marsaton (1882-1940)’, with an introduction by Sir Ernest Shackleton. The copy is signed by Murray, Marston and Shackleton.

the signatures of Shackleton, Murray and Marston in the book 'Antarctic Days'
A copy of Aurora Australis. 'Published at the Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, during the winter months of April, May, June, July, 1908 ... Printed at the sign of "The Penguins" by Joyce and Wild', 1908. Including 11 lithographic or etched plates by George Marston, Presentation copy of the first book printed and bound in Antarctica, limited to about 100 copies: one of the rarest of all polar works.

The celebrated Antarctic publication Aurora Australis
While Aurora Australis continued a tradition of Polar printing that went back to the mid-19th century -- a number of ships in the Franklin search expeditions having had small steam printing presses on board -- its true inspiration was undoubtedly the South Polar Times in which Shackleton was involved as editor during Scott's Discovery Expedition of 1901-04. With this precedent in mind, Shackleton shipped a printing press, paper and the necessary type and plate-making equipment (all donated by J. Causton & Sons Ltd.) and, despite the cold and the cramped conditions of the hut at Cape Royds, around 100 copies were printed and bound in the Antarctic winter of 1908. Frank Wild and Ernest Joyce had both taken a quick course in printing before their departure from England, and despite their inexperience were able to type-set and print two pages a day, the only discernible faults in their work being that the sequencing of the unnumbered pages varies between copies and a slight inconsistency of content.

A 'rookery' of Sea Elephants, photographed by Frank Hurley. One of the images in this year's Christie's Polar Sale
Three men (Adams and Frank Wild alongside Sir Ernest Shackleton) so near to, yet so far from, the South Pole. Marshall's whole-plate glass negative of the most famous photograph taken on the expedition, illustrated in Shackleton's Heart of the Antarctic and recording their record-breaking achievement, a ‘Farthest South’.

Marshall's celebrated photo of 'Furthest South': Adams, Wild and Shackleton
Marshall estimated by dead reckoning: 'January 9.--Our last day outwards.. We have shot our bolt and the tale is latitude 88° 23' South, longitude 162° East. ... At 4 A.M. started south, with the Queen's Union Jack, a brass cylinder containing stamps and documents to place at the furthest south point, camera , glasses and compass. At 9 A.M. we were in 88° 23' South, half running and half walking over a surface much hardened by the recent blizzard. It was strange for us to go along without the nightmare of a sledge dragging behind us. We hoisted Her Majesty's flag and the other Union Jack afterwards, and took possession of the plateau in the name of his Majesty. While the Union Jack blew out stiffly in the icy gale that cut us to the bone, we looked south with our powerful glasses, but could see nothing but the dead white snow plain.' (Sir E.H. Shackleton, The Heart of the Antarctic, London, 1909, I, p.348)

Wild, Shackleton, Marshall and Adams. The famous image of the four members of the southern party taken on the Nimrod shortly after their return from their ‘Farthest South’. Shackleton estimated they had travelled, including relaying and back marches, 1,755 miles and 209 yards. It comes from a selection of whole- , half-, and quarter-plate glass negatives and copy negatives of some of the most celebrated images from the Nimrod expedition originating with Eric Marshall (1879-1963), by way of his godson.

Wild, Shackleton, Marshall and Adams after their safe return from Furthest South
Shackleton and Wild had struggled back to the hut weeks overdue. They had left Adams and Marshall (Marshall suffering from paralysis of the stomach and dysentery) on the Barrier on 28 February and returned to base to find a message reporting the news that the Nimrod had picked up all the other parties and would shelter under Glacier Tongue until 26 February. They eventually managed to signal the ship the following day and were picked up: '... at 11 A.M. on March 1 we were on board the Nimrod and once more safe amongst friends. ... They had given us up for lost, and a search-party had been going to start that day in the hope of finding some trace of us.' Adams and Marshall were picked up and all were safe on board at 1 a.m. on 4 March, the present photograph presumably shot that night.

Oil painting by George Marston (1882-1940) entitled Aurora Australis , signed by the artist at lower right. Not to be confused with Wild and Joyce’s publication of the same year, this is an unusually large oil painting by Marston painted in the hut at Cape Royds in 1908 on a cannibalised sheet of venesta board from the expedition's packing cases and re- produced in The Heart of the Antarctic.

Marston's painting of the Aurora Australis
Of the aurora which Marston painted, Shackleton wrote (Heart of the Antarctic, p.216): 'About the same time [towards the end of March] we began to see the aurora, and night after night, except when the moon was at its full or the sky overcast, the waving mystic lines of light were thrown across the heavens, waxing and waning rapidly, falling into folds and curtains, spreading out into great arches and sometimes shooting vertical beams almost to the zenith. Sometimes, indeed often, the aurora hovered over Mount Erebus, attracted no doubt by this great isolated mass of rock, sometimes descending to the lower slopes and always giving us and interest that never failed. When the familiar cry of "aurora" was uttered by some one who had been outside, most of us rushed out to see what new phase this mysterious phenomenon would take, and we were indeed fortunate in the frequency and brilliancy of the displays.’

Watercolour by Gregory Robinson (1876-1967) showing The Nimrod under tow from the Koonya. (Estimate: £7,000 - £10,000 GBP). Robinson's painting was inspired by Marshall's photograph of the Koonya's masts just seen over the swell.

The Nimrod being towed - with difficulty - by the Koonya  in Robinson's atmospheric painting
Shackleton wrote : 'I had been anxious to have the Nimrod towed south in order to save coal. The ship could not take in a large quantity of coal after our provisions and equipment had been placed on board, for she was overloaded, and it was important that there should be enough coal to take the ship through the ice and back to New Zealand, and also to provide for the warming of the hut during the winter. The Government of the Dominion consented to pay half the cost of the tow, and Sir James Mills, Chairman of the Union Steamship Company, offered to pay the other half. The Koonya, a steel-built steamer of about 1100 tons, was chartered and placed under the command of Captain E.P. Evans...' (E.H. Shackleton, The Heart of the Antarctic, London, 1909, I, p.38).

’The Nimrod took the Koonya's cable on 1 January 1908 in the open sea off Lyttelton and proceeded 'like a reluctant child being dragged to school ... No Antarctic exploring ship had been towed to the ice before, but it meant the saving of coal to us for a time when the tons saved in this manner might have been the salvation of the expedition ... Bad weather was not long delayed. As the night of January 1 wore on the wind began to freshen from the south-west, and the following morning the two vessels were pitching somewhat heavily and steering wildly ... As the gale increased in vehemence, she seemed to throw off the lethargy, one might almost say the sulkiness, which possessed her when she found herself outward bound at the end of a tow-line, for the first time in her strenuous life of forty years. Now that the tow-line, in the fury of the gale, was but of little use, save to steady us, the Nimrod began to play her own hand. It was wonderful to see how she rose to the largest oncoming waves. She was flung to and fro, a tiny speck in the waste of waters, now poised on the summit of a huge sea, whence we got almost a bird's-eye view of the gallant Koonya smashing into the turmoil ahead; now dipping into the wave valleys, from which all we could discern of our consort was in truth "just a funnel and a mast lurching through the spray." ... The weather grew steadily worse, and by midnight the squalls were of hurricane force ... A moderate estimate of the height of the waves is forty-two feet ... Each green wave rushed at us as though it meant to swamp the ship, but each time the Nimrod rose bravely ... There was constant rain during the morning of January 8 ... [and] the gale increased again. It was so bad, owing to the confused sea, that we had to signal the Koonya to heave to. We did this with the sea on our starboard quarter. Suddenly one enormous wave rushed at us, and it appeared as though nothing could prevent our decks being swept, but the ship rose to it, and missed the greater part though to us it seemed as if the full weight of water had come on board. We clung tightly to the poop rails ...' (E.H. Shackleton, op. cit., pp.38-54).

James Francis [Frank] Hurley (1885-1962): varnished gelatin silver print of The Endurance and the Rampart Berg. Estimated at £3,000 - 5,000 GBP. This originated with Hurley’s third daughter, Yvonne Prosser.

The Endurance, presented by Frank Hurley in front of the huge 'Rampart' berg
A rare large exhibition format vintage print by Hurley and one of his composite images, the foreground and Endurance taken from one negative, and the 'Rampart Berg' taken from another. 'To give the public more variety and to pad out the material depleted by the necessary destruction of large amounts during the expedition’, Frank Hurley produced a large number of ‘composite’ photographs, inserting seals, clouds, whales, ice hummocks and the Endurance into such of remaining photographs that were suitable. As the expedition's fortune depended on Hurley's films, photographs and composites, this programme of manipulation can be understood, even if to modern eyes it seems like inexcusable garnishing of photographs for dramatic effect.

Walter E. How (c.1885-1972): pen and ink drawing entitled 'Shackleton's "Endurance" R.C.Y.C.’ Estimate £700 - £1,000 GBP. Signed and inscribed by the artist.

Walter How's admirable pen sketch of The Endurance
Walter How was an Able Seaman aboard Endurance on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-16. He served in the Merchant Navy after the expedition and later became an amateur painter and builder of ships in bottles. His sketches illustrated Margery and James Fisher's biography of Shackleton. Interestingly, How gave this fine sketch to his friend Lionel Greenstreet (1890-1979), a fellow-member of the Endurance expedition.

A Union Jack presented to Shackleton by His Majesty King George V in September 1921, prior to the Shackleton-Rowett Quest Expedition, 1921-1922. Estimate: £15,000 - £20,000 GBP. The accompanying plaque indicates that on its return it was given by His Majesty to J. Q. Rowett OA, the main sponsor of the expedition.

The Flag presented to Sir Ernest Shackleton by His Majesty King George V
Shackleton sailed on the Quest in September 1921 on his fourth expedition to the Antarctic, intending to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent. The Quest reached South Georgia on 4 January 1922 and Shackleton, ill throughout the outward voyage, died on his ship from a heart attack the following day. He was buried at the whaling station of Grytviken, South Georgia, and the expedition went on under Wild's command before returning prematurely to England in June 1922.

 

CHRISTIE'S POLAR SALE 23 SEPTEMBER 2004

AN IMPRESSIVE SALE OF EXPLORATION, TRAVEL AND POLAR ARTEFACTS

The Christie's Exploration, Travel and Polar Sale too place on 23 September 2004 at Christie's Sale Room, 85 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3LD.

Highlights inclued two editions of Shackleton's Heart of the Antarctic : a First Trade Edition which sold for £3,346 and lot No. 77 (a Limited Edition of 300, vellum-backed) which sold for £11,950.

Shackleton's miniature polar medal E.Vll.R (1902-4) with one clasp sold for £4,182.

A 3-volume set of South Polar Times sold for £10,755.

A first edition of South sold for £1,912.

The next Polar Sale at Christie's will be held on 21/9/05.


Items on sale at Christie's of especial interest to Shackletonians included :

Portrait photograph of Sir Ernest Shackleton by F.A.Swaine (London: 1918). Brown-toned matt print (200 x 147mm.). (Lot 222) Shackleton is shown half-length turned to his right, in the uniform of a Major in the British Army. The photo relates to Shackleton's taking part in Operation Syren, Northern Russia, 1918-19.[With:]A pair of patinated brass lapel badges (34 x 40mm.) showing the Royal Arms in low relief, [c1918] and signifying that the wearer was on general service: Shackleton can be seen wearing these or similar badges in the portrait photograph described above. [With:] A seven line autograph note, initialed 'EHS', [North Russia, 1918-1919] 1p, 135 x 178mm., reading: 'Finito /Make out Petchenga for/2 squads only ignore/the rest of the men./when finished diss [?]/until after lunch/EHS'

A fine selection of ephemera recalling Shackleton's service in Northern Russia between the Autumn of 1918 and February 1919.

"Following Sir Ernest Shackleton's experiences during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition expedition and his eventual return to Britain in late May 1917, he was very keen to contribute to the Allied war effort.

After a relatively successful propaganda mission to South America between September 1917 and March 1918, Shackleton was at last given employment that he felt made use of his particular skills: in August the War Office appointed him to take charge of winter equipment for the Allies' North Russian expedition.

In the autumn of 1918 he sailed to join the Murmansk task force (code-named 'Syren') where he served under Maj.-Gen. Maynard, along with a number of his old companions including Hussey, Macklin, Stenhouse and Worsley.

With the signing of the Armistice in November, the emphasis of the campaign shifted and by February 1919 Shackleton evidently felt that he had fulfilled his patriotic duty and resigned."

Two autograph letters written by Sir Ernest Shackleton (signed 'Devil' and 'Micky') to Lady (Emily) Shackleton ('darling Sweeteyes'), on board the Cunard R.M.S. Mauretania and n.p., 26 March 1921 and n.d., together 5 pages, 4to and 8vo; envelope.

Shackleton writes on board the Mauretania in the midst of preparations for the Quest expedition: 'I was sorry the line was bad this morning'; the line to [John Quiller] Rowett's house was bad too -- 'they told me afterwards that the exchange is the worst in the Kingdom!'. Shackleton has had a 'bad night continually on the run all due to the cider[?]'. 'It was a nice peaceful time at home yesterday ... I hope to be back soon, indeed I must be if I am to get ready in time ... I want a rest'. the second letter communicates arrangements for a lecture ('I have told Frank'), and corrects a money transfer; the postscript is 'No Russian news'.

"The letter of March 1921 is written en route to Ottawa, at the stage when Shackleton believed the Canadian Government was willing to sponsor an Arctic expedition on the Quest; in the end it was Rowett who provided the majority of the funding."

Pearson's Magazine, published Monthly. London: Horace Cox for C. Arthur Pearson Ltd., October 1909: The second part (only) of 'Lieutenant Shackleton's Own Story. Nearest the South Pole. Part II - 97 miles from the Pole', pp.346-367, the upper cover with portraits of Shackleton. Conrad p.147. [With:] six other magazines and pamphlets comprising 'Soldiers Three' by Rudyard Kipling, A.H. Wheeler & Co's Indian Railway Library, No. 1, London: 1914; three copies of 'If -' by Rudyard Kipling, London: 1914; 'The Book of the Quest'; and 'The London Magazine', January, 1908, XIX, No.113, missing upper cover

"Shackleton's first, abridged account of the British Antarctic Expedition ran in three parts in Pearson's Magazine, nos.165-167, September-November 1909, publicising the expedition ahead of the publication of Shackleton's The Heart of the Antarctic in late 1909. Kipling was one of Shackleton's favourite poets, and his commonplace book of 1898 included quotations from his writings. Shackleton would meet Kipling briefly in 1900 on the troopship Tintagel Castle at Cape Town. Four lines from If were pinned up in Shackleton's cabin on the Endurance and were carried with him on the boat journey. 'Shackleton carried printed copies of Kipling's If... to give to likely souls'"

Other fascinating items in the Christie's sale (in some instances paired with others)include: a miniature Polar Medal dated 1902-4 and marked 'E.VII.R'; a head and shoulders profile portrait of Shackleton. London, Maull & Fox, circa 1909 (see the head of this article); the autograph diary of L.D.A.Hussey (Lot 219, see separate item below); a collection of seven wood-backed brass half-tone printing plates [c.1917], all after Frank Hurley, depicting scenes on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-16; an extract from a poem by Shackleton 'To the Great Barrier', written for The South Polar Times: '... Ah! What is the secret you are keeping,/To the southward beyond our ken? [Lieut. E.H. Shackleton]' transcribed on the reverse of the mount of a watercolour painting [c1901, English School]: 'Antarctic Landscape' (4¾ x 9½in/12.1 x 24.2cm.); National Phonograph Co. (manufacturers): A wax cylinder record, titled 'My South Polar Expedition' by Lieut. E.H. Shackleton. Orange, New Jersey, U.S.A. [recorded: 30 March 1909] (the famous but rare brief original recording of Shackleton's voice);

Books and journals include Antarctic Days: Sketches of the homely side of Polar life..., introduced by Sir Ernest Shackleton. London: Butler & Tanner for Andrew Melrose, 1913, with four mounted coloured plates, 33 black and white plates and other illustrations, after Marston, Murray, Sir Philip Brocklehurst and others; a copy of South: the Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917, London: The Complete Press for William Heinemann, 1919 [Lot 221]: "For this work, 'Shackleton once again had the writing assistance of Edward Saunders, as he did with The Heart of the Antarctic; Shackleton dictated the text to Saunders early in 1917; the final editing was done by Leonard Hussey of the marooned Elephant Island party ... Shackleton derived most of the account from his recollections; he had kept only a rudimentary diary. He based the stories of the marooned Elephant Island party ... and the Ross Sea party ... on diaries and conversations" - Rosove).

Among other books on sale are: The Heart of the Antarctic, (the story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 by E.H. Shackleton), First Trade Edition [Lot 189], a fine set with 'very scarce' dust-jackets'; another copy of The Heart of the Antarctic, no.77 of limited edition of 300 copies [Lot 190], with the signatures of all the members of the shore party.

And: The South Polar Times. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1907-1914, ed. Shackleton, Bernacchi and Cherry-Garrard: 3 volumes, 4°, plates and illustrations (some chromolithographic) after Herbert Ponting, Edward Wilson and others. Vols. I and II both no. 224 from limited edition of 250 copies and Vol. 3 no. 117 from a limited edition of 350.; also another very fine set, the first two volumes with an important and fascinating provenance: vols. I and II are both from the limited edition of 250 copies, these copies numbered 3, with volume I inscribed by Scott to his mother; volume III is from an edition limited to 350 copies, this copy numbered 59.

Pictures in the sale include Frank Hurley (1885-1962): Photographs of Scenes and Incidents in connection with the happenings to the Weddell Sea Party, 1914-1916 - 79 carbon prints in various colours including blue and warm brown, each 6 x 8in. (15.3 x 20.3cm.), printed on the 79 cream card leaves, typed titles on labels below each image. ("An important album of Hurley's prints from the collection of the expedition meteorologist Leonard Hussey.

This is the rare de-luxe edition of Hurley's prints. There are two otherwise similar albums of 78 and 79 prints in the collection of Dulwich College (for which see J.Piggott (ed.), Shackleton The Antarctic and Endurance, Dulwich, 2000, p.129). Another was presented to one of Shackleton's three main sponsors of the Endurance expedition, Janet Stancomb Wills (lot 363 in Christie's 2002 Polar Sale); and another is recorded in The Royal Collection ('Five albums are reputed to have been made. Hurley took one in a taxi to Buckingham Palace.' (see Dr. Jan Piggott, op. cit.); and an album of 15 photographs, including 12 gelatin silver prints by and after Frank Hurley, from the glass plates, the prints blindstamped 'RJ', and one print of a Marston painting.

Also in the sale: George Edward Marston (1882-1940): 'S.Y. Endurance trapped in the ice in the Weddell Sea', oil on board, unframed, 16½ x 28in. (41.9 x 71.2cm.): provenance: Captain F.A. Worsley, DSO, OBE, RNR (1872-1943) - following anon. sale at Christie's, 17 Sept. 1999, lot 266 (to the present owners).

George Marston, exhibition artist and veteran of Shackleton's Nimrod expedition of 1907-09, lost most of his work when the Endurance went down:

'When, after eight months drift, fast locked in the ice of the Weddell Sea, the Endurance was finally crushed, October 27, 1915, the whole of my work with the exception of those drawings marked with a star, went down with her.

'My oil colours were then commandeered to paint the seams of the boat (now our only hope), and in the final escape from the ice, six months later, we doubtless owe some small degree of our safety to those tubes of colour. I was now left with a few sheets of paper, half a dozen water colours and one pencil, which, during that six months drift and the boat journey, were the most treasured possessions.' (G.Marston in the introduction to the exhibition catalogue of his works shown at the Grosvenor Galleries, London, in May 1922).

 

NEW BRITISH ANTARCTIC TERRITORIES STAMPS

The Crown Agents have issued a series of stamps for British Antarctic Territories, The Falkland Islands, and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, depicting Shackleton's Endurance expedition of 1914-16.

Also, The British Antarctic Survey has secured the issue of a first day cover of four new stamps (see below) to commemorate l00 years of British Antarctic Exploration, the commissioning of the new symphony and the fiftieth anniversary (in 2002/3) of Ralph Vaughan Williams's Antarctic Symphony, some music from which had first been used in the 1940s film Scott of the Antarctic, starring Sir John Mills.




 

ANTARCTIC PICTURES AND ARTEFACTS

The 2002 Christie's Polar Sale took place on Wednesday 25th September 2002 at Christie's auction rooms, King Street, London, U.K. Here is a list of some of the more interesting Shackleton-related items :

£776.75
SIR ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1874-1922)
A 78rpm phonograph record, one side only, by Victor Talking Machine Co., Camden, N.J., U.S.A. (His Master's Voice logo painted over): 'A Dash for the South Pole, Sir Ernest Shackleton', no. 70014, sleeve torn, 11 7/8in. (30.1cm.) diameter.

The same recording of Shackleton describing his sledging journey on the Nimrod expedition featured as the 'B' side of H.M.V.'s recording of Peary's The Discovery of the North Pole.

£956
A folio including two framed and four unframed photographs of Shackleton, 1901 ('E.H. Shackleton R.N.R. (late 3rd Lieutenant National Antarctic Expedition)') - c.1921, one by Hix (photographer), signed 'To Jue[?] from Ernest.' 10 3/8 x 7in. (26.4 x 17.8cm.) and smaller

£2,987.50
LADY SHACKLETON (1868-1936)
Emily Shackleton's family photograph album including approximately 302 photographs recording Emily's family life from c.1900-1914, including Shackleton's visits to the Firs, Sydenham in 1900, and his courtship with Emily, life in Scotland 1904-1906, holidays in Margate and Torquay 1906-1907, the departure of the Nimrod 1907, life in Eastbourne, 1908, Nimrod's return 1909, Canadian tour May 1910, preparations in Norway for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic (Endurance) Expedition, 1914, and others. 27 pages. Also three other photograph albums compiled by Lady Shackleton, c.1900-1914, including photographs of Shackleton at home and on S.Y Endurance, 1914, together with a folio of unframed photographs of the Shackleton family, including studio portraits of Ernest, Emily and their children, and framed portraits of Emily. Plus Raymond Shackleton's birthday book (Baby's Record by Maud Humphrey) including Emily's records of Raymond's infancy.

£717
WALTER E. HOW (A.B. ON ENDURANCE, 1914-1916) Shackleton's Endurance, pen and black ink, unframed 7 x 10in. (17.8 x 25.4cm.) with four other sketches by How of sailing ships including R.R.S. Discovery, Sierra Cordova, and Trade Winds), an Antarctic Club Christmas card, Drawings by How illustrating M. & J. Fisher's biography of Shackleton published in 1957.

(How's model of the Endurance is in the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.)

UNSOLD (est £60-80,000)
Autograph manuscript journal, 'Diary of L.D.A. [Dr. Leonard Duncan Albert] Hussey of The (late) Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition stranded on the Sea Ice on the Weddell Sea Position Tuesday 2nd November 1915 Lat 69° 7½' S Long 52° 5' , in pencil, inc.table of temperatures and weather conditions for [probably] May 1916, sketch on back end-paper of 'Our pannikins': 'They don't want washing They're scraped too clean after each meal', 30 leaves, 8vo (7 blank) (heavy original staining and soiling, presumably sea-water and soot).

UNSOLD (est £10-15,000)
Dr.Hussey's Medals including the polar medal, G.V.R., one clasp antarctic 1914-16 (incused 'L. Hussey, Meteorologist on Endurance), Mercantile Marine war medal 1914-1918, Victory Medal, 1914-1919 (incused 'Capt. L.D.A. Hussey'), World War I British War Medal, 1914-1918, The Defence Medal, 1939-1945, General Service Medal G.V.I.R. with Clasp, Order of the British Empire (Military).

UNSOLD (est £1,000 - 1,500)
Dr.A.H.(Alexander Hepburne) Macklin (1889-1967) : Macklin's housewife: an embroidered cotton housewife containing various wools, needles and thread, 'A H MACKLIN' embroidered on the exterior flap. Probably a relic of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917. Macklin's Endurance journal entry for October 30th, 1915 mentions two 'housewifes' in his gear after the loss of the Endurance : 'In the gear is allowed 1lb of perquisites. I am taking a housewife ... I have also in my ditty bag, rolled up inside the sleeping bag whilst travelling and acting as a pillow when asleep:- 1 Hussif ...'

£1,135.25 (est £400-600)
LADY (EMILY) SHACKLETON (1868-1936)

A collection of correspondence, telegrams and printed miscellanea, comprising:

Family letters of Lady Shackleton. 1884 - 1924, the majority 1909-1910, accompanying Ernest Shackleton on lecture tours, and reporting on their travels and reception ('Mike [i.e. Shackleton] away every day this week'; 'the millionaires weren't very generous'), including the presentation of the Polar Star by King Gustav of Sweden, and mentioning news of Nansen ('he goes nowhere since his wife's death') and Peary ('very unpopular'). Also two fragments of diaries, 12 - 13 January 1910 and 5 - 7 April [?1910], the second describing a stay in New York on Shackleton's lecture tour, 'Dear old Mike went off at 1.30. I felt very down hearted for a bit', together seven pages, 8vo.

Letters to Lady Shackleton from Herbert Ponting and others (27 April 1916, condolences on the death of her sister); a letter to Sir Ernest Shackleton from E.T. Reed, 29 March 1911; a collection of six telegrams from Sir Ernest to Lady Shackleton, 1916-1922, brief personal messages. A card inscribed 'Bon Voyage & good wishes from Davis, Joyce, Joyce, Mackintosh, Mawson, Murray, Reid, Wild, Brocklehurst', n.d. [before 1914]. Letters to Cecily Shackleton, including a letter from Hugh Robert Mill (biographer of Shackleton), 1922, congratulating her on her book Ships of the Phantom Haven, 'Your father would have been very proud of it', and others. Plus the orders of service for the Shackletons' wedding, 9 April 1904, and Lady Shackleton's funeral, 9 June 1936, with a collection of Shackleton-related newspaper cuttings, and other ephemera.

 

SALE OF SHACKLETON MEMORABILIA

The auctioneers Christie's of London staged Breaking The Ice, its inaugural Polar Sale (sale 6544) devoted to Polar art and artefacts, which included a significant Shackleton Collection, at 2.00 p.m. on 25 September 2001 at 8 King Street, St. James's, London.

Items in the Shackleton Collection included 100 lots of 'Shackletoniana' from a collection placed in the safekeeping of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, in accordance with Shackleton's express wishes, in l920. The majority of the lots sold were duplicates of items already held in the SPRI. They included a prized copy of the Antarctic magazine Aurora Australis edited by Shackleton on his l907-9 Nimrod expedition and presented by him to his wife, Emily (estimate: £25,000-35,000), part of an edition of only l00 (the only book ever to have been produced on the poleward side of latitude 70 degrees);a family photography album of around 155 photographs, thought to have been made up by Shackleton's daughter, Cecily (estimate: £15,000-20,000), including a rare print developed by Frank Hurley on the Endurance shortly before the ship sank on 21 March 1915, carried by Shackleton on the ice and on the boat journey aboard the James Caird and bearing the stains of the arduous 750-mile journey; a cigarette tin containing the remains of an expedition biscuit, inscribed 'Biscuit from Expedition 1914/1916' on the label of the tin (estimate: £2,000-4,000); and a fragment of the sail of the James Caird, measuring just 15 x 50mm, pinned to the head of a letter to Lady Shackleton (estimate: £1,000-1,500).

The sensational photographs of Frank Hurley, 193 direct positive glass lantern slides, still in their original boxes, (estimate: £30,000-50,000), were a major highlight.

Also offered for sale was a blubber-stained manuscript diary kept by the assistant surgeon, Dr. Alexander Macklin, detailing the abandonment of the Endurance and the period up til the crew's rescue in September 1916 (and expected to reach £50,000-80,000). Macklin's journal is notable for its precision in practical matters, giving lists of gear, medical supplies and dietary matters as well as detailing the surprising pleasures of Antarctic life; it has been drawn upon by a succession of biographers and historians, and is one of the most important accounts of the periods on the ice floes and Elephant Island.

 

OTHER SHACKLETON MEMORABILIA

A sledge harness used during Shackleton's Antarctic expedition is one of the prime exhibits at the Athy Heritage Museum, which is situated close to Shackleton's birthplace in County Kildare, Republic of Ireland. The harness was also displayed prominently at the 2000 Dulwich College Shackleton Exhibition.

A substantial number of fascinating Shackleton memorabilia can be found finely illustrated in the catalogue of the Dulwich College exhibition Shackleton: The Antarctic and Endurance.



 

 

<<       Society       Forum       History       News       Publications       Membership       >>