Incredible photos of Captain Scott's Terra Nova quest in Great White South at ATLAS Gallery

By Laura McArthur | 13 February 2012
A black and white photo of an Antarctic explorer in profile
CS Wright on return from the Barrier (January 29 1912)© Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Courtesy ATLAS Gallery, London
Exhibition: The Great White South, ATLAS Gallery, London, until April 5 2012

Nearly a century since they were last in the public eye, Herbert G Ponting’s rare antique polar photographs of the Terra Nova expedition are on public display for all to see again.

The original 1913 carbon prints are in exceptional condition, and many remain in their original Edwardian frames.

Known as one of the most renowned photographers of his day, Ponting was recruited as “camera-artist” to the British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition. This exhibition marks the centenary of the death of Captain Scott and his men.

Ponting’s extraordinary technical and compositional talents captured images of the previously uncharted continent of unparalleled quality, which are still among some of the finest ever taken of the Antarctic.

“There was a huge outpouring of national grief for the loss of Captain Scott and his party,” says Ben Burdett, of the gallery.

“Ponting’s images of the expedition became a focal point for the general public to see for themselves.

“The quality of preservation we see in the collection we have today adds to the value of these unique artefacts.”

In addition to the collection of the original carbon prints there will be a new limited edition collection of 48 platinum prints, published in a special portfolio, available for purchase in association with the Scott Polar Research Institute.

The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott, taken by Scott himself during his tragic march to the Pole, also feature.

Scott – trained by Ponting – captured some breathtaking polar panoramas as well as photographing the explorers themselves, documenting some of the most poignant and emotive records of the fateful expedition.

The collection of images were thought lost for almost 70 years until they resurfaced at a New York auction in 2001. They were bought by Richard Kossow, who had planned to sell them until they were bought by the Scott Polar Research Institute with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  • Open Monday-Friday 10am-6pm (11am-5pm Saturday). Visit www.atlasgallery.com for full details. A national Service of Commemoration in honour of the expedition takes place at St Paul's Cathedral in London on March 29 2012.

More pictures:


A black and white photo of a sailing ship on Arctic seas with an iceberg in the foreground
Terra Nova at the Ice-Foot, Cape Evans (January 16 1911)© Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Courtesy ATLAS Gallery, London
A photo of a man in an Arctic barn tending to snow horses with dogs sleeping nearby
Captain Oates and Siberian Ponies, Terra Nova (1910)© Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Courtesy ATLAS Gallery, London
A photo of ice and snow in the Arctic under dark blue moonlight
The Ramparts of Mount Erebus (1911)© Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Courtesy ATLAS Gallery, London
A photo of a dog looking at a large gramophone on the snow in the Arctic
Chris and the gramophone© Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Courtesy ATLAS Gallery, London
A black and white photo of a group of penguins on an icecap overlooking the Arctic sea
Tabular Ice-Berg off Cape Royds (February 13 1911)
© Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Courtesy ATLAS Gallery, London
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