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.
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.