Captain Scott's personal photos of Antarctica to be saved from auction?



2015-06-26 11:33:31

The Scott Polar Research Institute needs $458,000 to save the famous captain's personal photos

The Scott Polar Research Institute is asking for public donations to save a collection of Captain Scott’s personal photos of Antarctica from being sold at auction.

Spearheaded by explorer Ranulph Fiennes, the Cambridge-based organisation hopes to raise the £275,000 ($457,892) sought by a private vendor, who will auction the negatives if the money doesn’t show.

Taken by Scott himself more than a century ago, the shots are some of the earliest photos of Antarctica and an incredibly important piece of polar exploration heritage.

Robert Falcon Scott led his team of five men to the South Pole on January 17, 1912, only to discover that Roald Amundsen’s own expedition from Norway had pipped them to the post. Demoralised, Scott and his four explorers died on the perilous return journey.

“The negatives of Scott's lost photographs are of major significance to the national heritage,” commented Sir Ranulph. “Scott's attainment of the South Pole and his subsequent death captured the public imagination on its discovery in 1913 and continues to exercise an extraordinary fascination.”

The negatives only surfaced in 2012, after copyright issues caused them to be kept in a private collection. However, the institute currently holds prints of the photos, as well as the camera on which they were taken.

“Unlike a print, of which any number can be made, the negatives are unique and would be a huge asset to the Institute," explains the Scott Polar Research Institute’s Bridget Cusack, who added that the negatives would be placed on public view should the institute reach its target.

Anyone wishing to make a donation has until the end of the month to do so online or by post at Save Scott's Negatives, The Polar Museum, Scott Polar Research Institute, Lensfield Road, Cambridge, CB2 1ER.

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