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The Terra Nova Expedition

Through the eyes of Herbert Ponting
Travels along the Silk Routes Shapero Rare Books

When we think of Captain Scott and his fateful last journey to the Antarctic, it is inevitable that we see him, his crew, and the continent itself, through the eyes of Herbert Ponting, the official photographer to the expedition.

Travels along the Silk Routes Shapero Rare Books

Many of Ponting’s expedition photographs transcend the field of exploration and have become amongst the most iconic and valuable images of twentieth-century photography. Ponting did, however, take some 1700 photographs, many of which are not at all well known, and which give an intimate portrait of life in the hostile Antarctic environment.

The Terra Nova expedition was supposed to be the high-water mark of the Golden Age of Antarctic exploration; led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the expedition was intended to be the first to reach the South Pole, and to mark the event with the planting of the Union Jack.

However, the more professionally equipped Norwegian expedition led by Roald Amundsen got there first. Nevertheless this expedition will always be the one best remembered on account of the tremendous courage and bravery shown by Scott and his companions, Wilson, Bowers, Oates, and Evans on their return from the Pole in appalling conditions - perhaps best exemplified by Lawrence ‘Titus’ Oates who walked from the tent into a blizzard whilst suffering from frostbite and gangrene, knowing that he was not going to survive the journey but hoping that his self-sacrifice might help the others survive.




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