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Marston, George Edward

Marston, George Edward

Alias: Putty or Putti

Title: Mr

Dates: 1882-1940

Nationality: British

Awards: Polar Medal (silver)

George Edward Marston was born on 19 March 1882 at Southsea, one of five children born to William Charles Marston, a coach builder, and Elizabeth Marston. He left home in his teens to train as an artist in London, studied art at Putney School of Art and Regent Street Polytechnic and qualified as a teacher.

Marston joined the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09 (Nimrod) as official artist, participating in several sledging journeys and an ascent of Mount Erebus. While at Cape Royds he was one of the leading figures in the creation of Aurora Australis, the first book published in the Antarctic, contributing the front cover and ten illustrations. He also provided sketches and paintings for 'The Heart of the Antarctic', Shackleton's account of the expedition. On his return from the Antarctic he co-wrote 'Antarctic Days' with James Murray about the life of Antarctic explorers.

In 1914 Marston went south again, as artist on Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-16 (Endurance). He was also assigned as leader of a dog-team. After Endurance was crushed in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, the crew lived for six months on drifting ice until this broke up north-east of the Antarctic Peninsula. Proceeding in three open boats, the party of twenty-eight men reached Elephant Island on 15 April 1916. Marston made paintings and drawings of life on the pack ice and on Elephant Island before the party was rescued on 30 August 1916. He also gave up his oil paints to be used to help caulk the James Caird for the journey to South Georgia.

Marston married Hazel Roberts in 1913 and they had two children. He taught at Bedales School in Petersfield, Hampshire from 1918-22, and in 1925 joined the Rural Industries Bureau as Handicrafts Adviser, becoming director in 1934. He died in office on 22 November 1940 at the age of 58. He is commemorated by Mount Marston 76°54' S 162°12' E, a whale-backed shaped mountain, first charted by the Nimrod Expedition.


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