BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909 Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2)
Lot 195
BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909
Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2)
£ 60,000 - 100,000
US$ 78,000 - 130,000

Lot Details
BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909 Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2) BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909 Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2) BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909 Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2) BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909 Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2) BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909 Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2) BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909 Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2)
BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909
Sledge used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09 ('Nimrod Expedition'), retained by explorer Eric Marshall, ash on a hickory frame, 6 uprights and cross-members reinforced with metal braces, leather straps and thick string ties at various points around the frame, tow-ropes looped around two uprights at both the front and rear of the sledge, approximately 3360mm. (11 ft.) long; together with framed presentation plaque, stating "The Sledge, hanging above, was one of those used on the Expedition, & was presented to the School by Dr. Eric Marshall" (2)

Footnotes

  • A SLEDGE FROM THE FIRST SHACKLETON EXPEDITION TO THE ANTARCTIC. The sledge was used on the 1907-9 British Antarctic ('Nimrod') Expedition by Eric Marshall - one of the four men, with Shackleton, Jameson Adams, and Frank Wild, to undertake the sledge march to the South Pole. Though they had to abandon the attempt, on 9 January 1909 they set a new record for the farthest south, reaching within 100 geographical miles of the Pole.

    Marshall (1879-1963) studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and qualified as a surgeon at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. He met Shackleton at a party in 1906, and volunteered for the expedition on the spot. A rower and rugby player, Marshall was fit and had the expertise to serve as surgeon, cartographer and photographer for the expedition. Though they did not always see eye to eye, Shackleton remarked of Marshall that he "stuck to the march" and "never complains" (Heart of the Antarctic, 1909).

    In preparation for the trip, Shackleton went to Christiania in April 1907, and found "that Mr. C.S. Christiansen, the maker of the sledges used on the Discovery expedition, was in the United States". Instead, he commissioned L.H. Hagen and Company to produce sledges "of the Nansen pattern" in various sizes. The present example is one of eighteen eleven-foot sledges purchased for the expedition; Shackleton favoured this size as the "best for general work, for it was not so long as to be unwieldy, and at the same time was long enough to ride over sastrugi and hummocky ice."

    For the southern journey, the four men were accompanied by four ponies, each pulling an eleven-foot sledge. Over the course of the march south, the ponies gradually succumbed to the conditions; three had to be shot, and the last fell down a crevasse. Two of the four sledges were left where the first two ponies were shot, as depots for the return journey. The two remaining sledges went further south. The sledge that reached the furthest point was so dilapidated that on the return journey Shackleton broke off a few splinters as souvenirs and swapped it with the fresher sledge left at 'Grisi Depot'.

    By late February 1909, the four explorers were in a frantic race to reach Nimrod. Shackleton had set a 1 March deadline for the ship to set sail – with or without the Southern Party. He and Wild went ahead and made it to Nimrod in the nick of time. A sledging party from the ship went back for Marshall and Adams, and with sea conditions worsening there was just time to fulfill one of the scientific goals of the expedition: "They steamed past Cape Armitage towards Pram Point in order to pick up the abandoned sledges, which held the geological samples from the southern journey. As they went, they could see young ice forming over the calm water, so after they brought the sledges aboard Shackleton ordered all steam towards the north" (Riffenburgh, Nimrod, 2004, p.277).

    Bertram Armytage's eleven-foot Nimrod sledge is at Museums Victoria, Australia (item ST 19768). SPRI holds the two splinters believed to be from Shackleton's farthest south sledge (items Y:2005/3/2 and Y:2005/3/3). There is a twelve-foot sledge at Athy Heritage Centre, Ireland; another is believed to be at Lyttelton Museum, New Zealand. The Museum of New Zealand has seven sledges purportedly from Nimrod (items GH003229/1-7), "brought to New Zealand in 1917 with the rescued men of the 'Ross Sea Party'" and sold at auction in Wellington in March 1917; at least one of these is an eleven-footer. The present sledge is the only example we have traced with provenance to one of the four Southern Party explorers.

    Provenance: Eric Marshall; donated by him around 1952 to his alma mater, Monkton Combe School, by whom now offered for sale.
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