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Events & exhibitions


Ponting's photograph - Beautiful Broken Ice

Visions of the Great White South

2 August - 19 August

Bonhams, New Bond Street, London - FREE ENTRY

"Uncle Bill handed me a parcel which contained all his sketches. He asked me to take charge of it, and deliver it to his wife, telling me it was his earnest hope that we might have a joint exhibition of our work – his sketches and my photographs"

Herbert Ponting, Camera Artist on the Terra Nova expedition

In August 2016 "Visions of the Great White South", an exhibition to be held at Bonhams will reunite the iconic photography of Herbert Ponting with the evocative watercolours of Edward Wilson over a century after the two men first dreamt up their plan for a joint exhibition. The British Antarctic Expedition, better known by the name of its ship the Terra Nova, took place from 1910-1913. Captain Robert Falcon Scott appointed Dr Edward Wilson, a close friend and a fine watercolourist, as his chief scientist. He also invited camera artist Herbert Ponting to join the expedition as official photographer, in a bold move in an era when high quality photography required great skill and careful attention in ordinary circumstances, let alone in the extreme environment of the Antarctic. Both Wilson and Ponting captured expedition life as well as keeping a visual record of scientific phenomena that the crew were studying.

Alongside the historic artworks, visitors will have the opportunity to see contemporary interpretations of the 'great white south'. For several years the Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute, with the support of Bonhams and the Royal Navy, have run an artist in residence scheme which sends an artist to the Antarctic on board the icebreaker HMS Protector.

Emma Stibbon, 'Night Bergs' 197 x 152.8cms (watercolour, graphite and aluminium powder)

By Endurance We Conquer: Shackleton and his Men

22 September 2015 - 3 September 2016

Shackleton and his men survived one of the worst disasters in Antarctic history: their ship was crushed and sank, and the outside world was unaware of their predicament or location. This major centenary exhibition will commemorate all the men that sailed with Shackleton aboard the Endurance. The exhibition will also honour the Ross Sea Party, three of whom lost their lives, that laid the supply depots for the planned crossing of the Antarctic continent.


Shackleton: Life and Leadership

From 1 August 2014

To mark the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic (Endurance) Expedition, 1914–17, The Polar Museum has unveiled a redesigned and expanded exhibition in its permanent galleries covering Shackleton's life and career.

The re-worked displays explore the life of the young merchant sailor who went on to achieve fame as one of the great Antarctic explorers. He was knighted, received the Polar Medal with three clasps and the Royal Geographical Society's special Gold Medal. Thirteen other nations honoured him with a total of 27 awards. The exhibition examines his leadership in braving the extreme challenges of the Antarctic.

A larger temporary exhibition entitled By Endurance We Conquer, and featuring many hitherto unseen manuscripts from SPRI's archive collection, will open in September 2015.