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SPRI Review 2007: Picture Library

Picture Library

The Picture Library continues to assist many British and international visitors and enquirers with their research of photographic material for use in a variety of publications, television programmes, and museum exhibitions. Photographic material has been supplied for exhibitions at the National Museums of Scotland, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia, and the County Museum in Dundalk, Ireland, St John's College, Cambridge and Relais D'Sciences, Caen, France. Images were also supplied to Tiger Aspect Productions for their film 'The Worst Journey in the World'. Part of the Institute's exhibition of Herbert Ponting's photographs of Scott's last expedition was also shown at Bonham's auction house during the summer.

The Picture Library acquired, by purchase from Christie's, ninety-three prints from the relief voyages of SS Morning. These photographs are of importance to our collection as they complement other material from the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-04. This purchase was enabled by generous support of the Friends of SPRI and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. A large collection of photographs from Sir Ranulph Fiennes's Transglobe expedition was also made available for digitisation. These photographs make an extremely welcome addition to the collection and will greatly enhance our holdings for late twentieth century polar expeditions.

A digitisation programme enabled by funding from the JISC Freeze Frame project is currently underway. Significant numbers of negatives, lantern slides and transparencies have been scanned, including all the negatives from the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, 1930-31, the transparencies acquired from Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and the lantern slides from the Nares Arctic Expedition, 1875-76.

The preventive conservation programme continues with the boxing of five more albums in the collection. Purpose-built boxes were constructed by a conservator for the Louise A. Boyd Expedition to East Greenland, 1931, British East Greenland Expedition, 1932-33, Cambridge Vatnajökull Expedition, 1932, and the Cambridge University Spitsbergen Expedition, 1932 (two volumes). The Augustine Courtauld Trust and the Friends of SPRI kindly provided the funds. The Picture Library would like to acknowledge the invaluable help given by the team of volunteers – Angela Haines, Jennifer Hirsh and Winifred Ware.

Lucy Martin