Friday - 24 October 2014

A new view of Scott at the Pole

18 May 2010Written by ATG Reporter

• Stoker's great granddaughter puts unique cache up for sale • Collection includes, letters, photos and even table waresA remarkable collection of documents and artefacts relating to the ill-fated British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-13 will be sold by Bamfords of Derby on May 26. The cache of largely unseen material has been entered for sale by the great granddaughter of Edward Archibald McKenzie, a crewman on the expedition supply ship Terra Nova.

Robert Falcon Scott's second and final mission to conquer the South Pole involved a total of 65 men chosen from 8000 applicants: a shore party comprising seven officers, 12 scientists and 14 men together with an additional ship's complement of 32 that included Leading Stoker R.N. Edward Archibald McKenzie.

His papers, watercolour drawings, photographs and artefacts acquired during and after the voyage were recently discovered in a Derbyshire house. They will be sold by Bamfords in 31 lots with modest estimates ranging from £30 to £3000.

After returning from the Antarctic, Leading Stoker McKenzie served in the Great War, briefly in the Grenadier Guards and then in the Navy, before becoming a policeman.

In his spare time he was a keen modelmaker, producing scale models of both the controversial experimental motor sledges and horse-drawn sleds used by Scott on his final push to the Pole (estimate £600-900) and a 1:42 scale model of the Terra Nova itself (estimate: £3000-4000). Both models, probably made to mark the 25th anniversary of the expedition, have previously been on display at the Science Museum in London.

However, it is the very personal lots that relate directly to the Terra Nova Expedition that promise to generate most excitement among collectors of polar exploration material.

McKenzie's diary (estimate £1500-2000), illustrated with snapshots by expedition photographer Herbert George Ponting, charts the voyage of the whaler from its departure from Cardiff on June 15, 1910 until its return to Britain.

There are references to conditions during the journey, the unexpected meeting with the Fram, the supply ship to the rival Norwegian expedition led by Roald Amundsen, and the sadness on hearing of the deaths of Scott and his small team of four, Dr Wilson, Captain Oates, Lieutenant Bowers and Petty Officer Evans.

According to McKenzie, meals on board the Terra Nova were basic but a captain in the King's Navy ate in some style, and Scott's table was adorned with the suitable accessories of the time.

A silver-plated pint jug by Walker and Hall bearing a large stamped device of the British Antarctic Expedition, carries an estimate of £800-1200. An en suite cruet set from the captain's table, presented to McKenzie by Lady Scott to be used in the lectures he gave after returning home, is also estimated at £800-1200.

Other items include: a letter mailed by McKenzie from Cape Evans, South Victoria Land informing his sweetheart 'Loll'of "the terrible news of Capt Scott" and enclosing a small Ponting photo of "Ted in Antartic" (estimate £800-1000); Terra Nova Naval hat bands; a postcard signed by the Captain of the Terra Nova to McKenzie (estimate £150-250); a dedicated copy of Ponting's seminal work The Great White South (estimate £300-500) and an autograph album started at the founding of the Antarctic Club in the 1929 containing the names of many Antarctic explorers including some 20 members of the fatal expedition (estimate £500-800).

by Roland Arkell

 

www.bamfords-auctions.co.uk

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