England 1870 – 1935
The 'Terra Nova' in a gale, March 1912
Materials & Technique:
photographs, dark blue-green carbon photograph enlargement using carbon tissue transfer process Support: card and original exhibition frames from New Zealand 1925-26
We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined to do our best to the last.
Robert Falcon Scott
Although sometimes dates 1910 it is more likely that this image was made on the return journey to New Zealand. All hands have been called to man the pumps which needed to operate continually to keep the Terra Nova from foundering. It would be almost a year before the tragic loss of Scott and his four companions – Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Edgar Evans and Lawrence Oates – was made known to the world. After the war, Ponting, deeply affected by Scott’s death, dedicated himself to making the sacrifice of Scott and his companions known through lectures and slide evenings. For his services Ponting was awarded the George V Polar Medal and Royal Geographic Society Medal. Ponting and Hurley met in 1916 in London, one near the end of his creative output, one near the beginning. They had great admiration for each other’s work. Sadly, Ponting’s projects in the twenties and early thirties were financial failures and he died in penury in London in 1935.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra