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SPRI Review 2006: Picture Library

Picture Library

The Picture Library continues to assist many visitors and enquirers from all over the world with their research on polar photographic material for use in a variety of publications, television programmes, lectures and museum exhibitions. This year, photographic material has been supplied for exhibitions at the Discovery Point Museum in Dundee, the National Gallery of Canada, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth, the Castle Museum in Norwich and La Corderie Royale in Rochefort, France. Photographs have also been supplied for the books The Lost Men by Kelly Tyler-Lewis, Arctic hell-ship: The voyage of HMS Enterprise, 1850-1855 by William Barr and to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to illustrate their Leading Lives resource pack about Ernest Shackleton. The Picture Library would like to acknowledge the invaluable help given by the team of volunteers: Angela Haines, Jennifer Hirsh, Sally Stonehouse and Winifred Ware.

The Institute's exhibition of Herbert Ponting's renowned photographs of Scott's last expedition was shown at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Partners XXIXth meeting in Edinburgh in June and then at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge until the end of October. There are plans for this exhibition to travel to other venues in the future.

The preventive conservation programme continues with all of the Ponting glass plate negatives being digitally copied by a professional conservator. Purpose-built boxes have also been constructed by a conservator for the collection of British Arctic Air Route Expedition, 1930-31, photograph albums. This has been made possible with the generous assistance of the Augustine Courtauld Trust via the Friends of the Institute. The Friends have also provided funds for the boxing of six albums of photographs from the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37, and the presentation album of photographs taken by Frank Hurley whilst on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-16 (Endurance).

The Picture Library acquired, by purchase from Christie's, seven original glass plate negatives from the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-09 (Nimrod), and 74 other negatives relating to Dr E. Marshall's (expedition surgeon and cartographer) service in the Great War. This was enabled by generous support of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. In addition, the Friends of SPRI provided £1880 for the conservation of two paintings in the SPRI collection -Elephant Island, by George Marston and an oil portrait, Sir James Clark Ross, by an unknown artist. A professional conservator from the Hamilton Kerr Institute, a renowned department of the Fitzwilliam Museum specialising in the conservation of easel paintings, was consulted and provided estimates for the very necessary treatment that was required for each painting. These two paintings have now been restored to their former glory.

Lucy Martin