Our conservation specialists, working in expedition photographer Herbert Ponting’s darkroom at Scott’s Cape Evans base, discovered a small box of cellulose nitrate negatives clumped together.
The photographs are from Ernest Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party (1914-1917), which spent time living in Scott’s hut after being stranded on Ross Island when their ship blew out to sea. Their role was to lay vital depots for Shackleton’s expedition.
The negatives were removed from Antarctica to undergo detailed conservation treatment back in New Zealand, where the negatives were painstakingly separated to reveal 22 never-before-seen Antarctic images.
Iceberg and land, Ross Island.
Although many of the images were damaged, our conservators were able to recognise landmarks around McMurdo Sound. While the identity of the photographer remains unknown, it is thought to be expedition photographer, the Reverend Arnold Spencer-Smith.
Alexander Stevens, chief scientist and geologist on-board the Aurora.
Looking south along Hut Point Peninsula to Ross Island.
Ross Island, Antarctica. Alexander Stevens, chief scientist and geologist looks south. Hut Point Peninsula in the background
Tent Island, McMurdo Sound.
Big Razorback Island, McMurdo Sound.
Mount Erebus, Ross Island, from the west.
Sea ice afloat, McMurdo Sound.