Herbert Ponting, The Terra Nova at the ice foot, Cape Evans, 1911
Lot 11*
Herbert George Ponting (British, 1871-1935) The Terra Nova at the ice foot, Cape Evans, 16th January 1911
Sold for £8,750 (US$ 14,707) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Herbert George Ponting (British, 1871-1935)
The Terra Nova at the ice foot, Cape Evans, 16th January 1911
Green toned carbon print, signed in pencil lower right. The reverse with the photographer's copyright and 'British Antarctic Expedition' stamps. Also annotated in ink and pencil in other hands. Framed.
44.8 x 31.4cm (17 5/8 x 12 3/8in).


  • Literature:
    Ponting, H. G., The Great White South (London: Gerald Duckworth, rpt. 1949), illustration XXXII

    Herbert G. Ponting was a self-taught professional photographer who spent his early career working in Asia and Europe, taking photographs of landscapes, tribes and communities for publication in an assortment of periodicals, magazines and newspapers. In 1910, Ponting was enlisted as Captain Robert Falcon Scott's official photographer on his British Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole (1910-1913). As the first professional photographer and cinematographer to be employed on an Antarctic expedition, Ponting considered this posting to be a unique, challenging opportunity to use the art of photography to aid geographical and natural discovery.

    Accompanying the Terra Nova crew for almost 14 months, Ponting took over 1,000 photographs that chronicled every aspect of the journey in astonishing detail, including intimate shots of the crew's day-to-day life. He built himself a darkroom at Cape Evans and worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to produce perfectly balanced and composed images.

    With another harsh Winter approaching, Ponting left Cape Evans towards the end of 1911, missing out on the push for the South Pole. On 17th January 1912, Scott and his remaining four men reached the Pole, only to perish on their return journey from malnutrition and freezing temperatures - a tragic fate that Scott's last diary and journal entries predicted. Enamoured by the Terra Nova crew's heroism and dedication to science, Ponting devoted the rest of his life to touring the British Isles with his photographs and moving footage to lecture on the expedition. In 1933, his footage, 'Ninety Degrees South: With Scott to the Antarctic', was released to huge acclaim.

    2012 is the centenary year marking 100 years since the Terra Nova crew reached the South Pole. To this day, Ponting continues to be upheld as the pioneer of polar photography.
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