Herbert Ponting's images of Captain Scott's expedition to South Pole (1910-1913) to sell at Bonhams

Herbert Ponting's images of Captain Scott's expedition to South Pole (1910-1913) to sell at Bonhams

Herbert Ponting's images of Captain Scott's expedition to South Pole (1910-1913) to sell at Bonhams

Three photographs taken by the pioneer of polar photography, Herbert George Ponting, of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's British Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole (1910-1913) are to be sold at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, as part of its Photographs Sale on 17 May 2012.

Having accompanied 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 shots of the crew's day-to-day life. In this sale, this is exemplified by Captain Scott writing in his diary, 7th October 1911 (estimate £2,000 – 3,000); while shots of the more active side of the expedition include Grotto in an iceberg with The Terra Nova in the background, 5th January 1911 (estimate £3,000 – 5,000) and the Terra Nova at the ice foot, Cape Evans, 16th January 2011 (estimate £3,000 – 5,000).

Ponting left Cape Evans towards the end of 1911, missing out on push for the South Pole. On 17th January 2012, Scott and his remaining four men reached the Pole, only to perish on their return journey from malnutrition and freezing temperatures. Ponting was so inspired by the crew's heroism that he devoted the rest of his life to touring the British Isles with his photographs and footage of the expedition.

Earlier this year, at The Polar Sale in London, Bonhams sold for £163,250 the first of the farewell letters written in the Antarctic by Captain Robert Scott as he realised that he and his team would not survive.

Highlights of the Photographs sale also two unique Polaroids by Robert Mapplethorpe, including a self-portrait, c. 1985 (estimate £3,000-5,000); a striking image of the late Lucian Freud in his studio with his portrait of Leigh Bowery, 1990 (estimate £3,000 – 5,000); and David Bailey's infamous shot of The Kray Brothers, 1965 (estimate £5,000 – 7,000).

The Photographs Sale will also feature a section of 11 lots, which have been donated by leading photographers and private collectors, to be sold to raise funds for NSPCC and its Rebuilding Childhoods Appeal.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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