[SCOTT, Robert Falcon, 1868-1912]
An album of photographs documenting Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition, 1910-1913; [together with] A manuscript plan of the Discovery, and two letters of Scott relating to the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901–04.
1. A rare photographic chronicle of the most celebrated expedition in the history of polar exploration, Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, officially known as the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913.
Album of press photographs by various English and New Zealand agencies, 1910-1913. Small folio (310 x 220 mm), original green cloth boards (rubbed and marked), spine with contrasting red morocco title label lettered in gilt ‘Scott Expedition Pictures’; containing  silver gelatin press photographs, most large format from 210 x 150 mm up to 290 x 190 mm, laid down recto and verso of the album pages, the majority with a contemporary typed caption label pasted beneath the image; the photographs generally in very good condition, a small number with minor blemishes; pages with scattered light foxing and occasional short edge tears.
This important album of press photographs was compiled between 1910 and 1913 by a journalist attached to the London illustrated weekly newspaper The Sphere. It tells the story of the Terra Nova expedition from just prior to its departure to its tragic aftermath, and includes images from its sojourn in Lyttelton, New Zealand; its time in the Antarctic; the Terra Nova’s return to Lyttelton; and portraits of the families of Scott and Evans taken after the news of the fate of Scott’s polar party had reached England. The photographs document preparations on the Terra Nova prior to departure; the ship’s departure; Lyttelton, New Zealand, including inspection of the expedition’s ponies and huskies (17); Scott and companions at the foot of Mount Erebus (2); the Terra Nova in the ice (3); expedition dinner on board the Terra Nova; the return of the Terra Nova to Lyttelton in February 1913 (10); Mrs. Evans and family (5); Mrs. Scott (Kathleen Bruce) and her son Peter, including the expedition leader’s wife in her artist’s studio (4).
Aiming to be the first to reach the geographic South Pole, Scott and four companions reached their objective on 17 January 1912, only to find that the Norwegian team under Amundsen had beaten them to the pole by 34 days. Scott and his party perished on the return journey across the ice. Eight months later, the search party from the Terra Nova recovered journals and photographs from the party’s tent that famously document the epic journey of Scott, Evans, Wilson, Bowers and Oates.
2. A manuscript diagram of Scott’s ship Discovery, built for the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-04.
[Dundee Shipbuilders Company. W.E. Smith, architect; R. Paterson, Managing Director, E. Bate, Inspector. 1900 or 1901]. Longitudinal Section, S.S. “Discovery”. Manuscript in ink on tracing paper, 217 x 680 mm; annotations in pencil, possibly in the hand of Robert Falcon Scott; original vertical folds, complete.
The Sphere, Vol. VI, No. 80, London, 3 August 1901. featured an article on the “The Great British Antarctic Expedition”, which was illustrated with photographic plates and a double page ‘Diagrammatic view of the Discovery’ that appears to have been based on the present longitudinal section.
3. Two holograph letters by Robert Falcon Scott to a journalist at The Sphere.
Robert Falcon Scott. Autograph letter signed, 2 pp. octavo, on embossed letterhead of the ‘Discovery Antarctic Expedition 1901’, dated ‘At sea, August 14th ’, addressed to Mr. House (or possibly Horne?), a journalist at The Sphere, thanking him for his good wishes. Scott writes: ‘I shall be indeed glad to see your further work in illustrating our venture and as our progress is slow there is no doubt of our receiving letters & papers sent to Cape Town … believe me, Yours faithfully, R.F. Scott’.
Robert Falcon Scott. Autograph letter signed, 1 p. octavo, on embossed letterhead ’56, Oakley Street, Chelsea Embankment’, dated ‘Oct. 29th [1905?]’, addressed to Mr. Home. ‘Many thanks for the photographs, also for the Spheres which you have so kindly sent me from time to time. Yours sincerely, R.F. Scott.
Both letters are torn along an original horizontal fold and have old tape residue, but are complete and legible.
Provenance: Private collection, Australia; by descent from an associate of the journalist at The Sphere.