Bookstore finds rare photos of Scott’s polar expedition
A bookstore in Henley has discovered three original photographs taken during Britain’s famous Antarctic expedition over a century ago.
Jonkers Rare Books of Hart Street bought the photos, which had belonged to an American
They were taken by Herbert Ponting during the Terra Nova Expedition led by Captain Robert Scott, which took place between 1910 and 1913.
He and four companions reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912, where they discovered that a Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen had preceded them by 34 days. Scott’s group died on the return trip from the pole.
Many members of the large expedition team also died of hypothermia, including Mr. Ponting.
Shop owner Christiaan Jonkers with wife Sam sells fleece-related gear
He is now selling the photos for prices ranging from £9,500 to £25,000. Tom Ayling, the shop’s travel specialist, said: “We are very interested in polar expedition and particularly Antarctica, particularly the ‘golden age’ from Scott’s first expedition in 1901 to in 1913, when he died tragically.
“We have many, many interested clients from this period and we help a number of people to build the most extraordinary collections.
“Ponting’s photographs are always things we seek out as there is a great demand for them.” The first photograph, titled Summertime, The Opening-Up Of The Ice, measures 580mm by 740mm and depicts a group of penguins surrounded by ice. It is priced at £25,000.
The second image, titled The Southern Party, measures 405mm by 595mm and shows the group of people on the expedition before heading to the Great Barrier Ice to create supply depots for the Polar Party the following year . It’s also priced at £25,000.
The third photo, titled The Terra Nova at the Ice Foot, Cape Evans, measures 710mm by 525mm and shows the ship Terra Nova near an iceberg. It costs £9,500.
The photographs were developed in a purpose-built darkroom in Antarctica and were first exhibited at the Fine Art Society as large-scale carbon prints in 1913.
Mr Ayling added: “What is remarkable about these photos is the exceptional condition they are in.
“The carbon process allows for large-scale printing, but the resulting prints are inherently susceptible to chipping and fading over time.
“Examples as well preserved as these are very rare these days. They always have integrity going for them.
Incidentally, when news of Capt Scott’s death reached England, there was mourning in Henley, where his mother lived and whom he had often visited.