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SPRI Review 2004: Picture Library

Picture Library

A highlight of the year has been the successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £530,000 to enable the purchase of Herbert Ponting's collection of over 1,100 large-format glass-plate negatives and their original storage boxes. The photographs were taken by Ponting whilst on Scott's British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-13. This is a very important acquisition for both the Picture Library and for the Institute as a whole. An exhibition of Ponting's photographs is planned for the second half of 2005.

More generally, the Picture Library continues to assist many visitors from all over the world with their research of photographic material for use in a variety of publications, television programmes, lectures and museum exhibitions. Examples this year include the supply of material for an exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, our own exhibition Shackleton: The Hidden Collections and the book Scott's Antarctic Diary published in South Korea. The TV programme Made for the Masses , shown on ITV, incorporated both still photographs and film footage from the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37. Photographic material has also been supplied for the books With Scott to the Pole, a collaborative publication with the Royal Geographical Society, Nimrod by Beau Riffenburgh and The Antarctic Journals of Reginald Skelton by his grand-daughter Judy Skelton.

The preventive conservation programme continues with the addition of a Plan Chest in the Picture Library store. This has provided storage for all the very large photographs in the collection. The generosity of the Friends of SPRI has enabled the purchase of a quantity of conservation-quality polyester sleeves in which these large photographs are housed. As part of the Institute's commitment to continuing professional training, the Picture Library Manager also attended a course, "Preservation of Photographic Negatives", run by the Photographic Materials Conservation Group in London.

The Picture Library would like to acknowledge the invaluable help given by the team of volunteers: Angela Haines, Jennifer Hirsh, Ailsa McQueen, Sally Stonehouse and Winifred Ware.

Lucy Martin

Bust of Captain R.F. Scott on the facade of the Institute's historic building
Image ©
Image as described adjacent