Race to save Captain Scott’s negatives for nation
March 7, 2014
Photo: Pony camp, Camp 15. Ponies (left to right) Snippetts, Nobby, Michael and Jimmy Pigg, Great Ice Barrier, 19 November 1911; “Ponies tethered on the ice beside a man-made ice wall. Sledges in background.” [Picture credit: Scott Polar Research Institute]
If campaigners fail to raise the cash by 25 March the ‘recently rediscovered’ negatives – previously thought to have been lost forever – will be sold at auction and could end up overseas, meaning they may not be available for future research and exhibitions in the UK.
Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is spearheading the appeal to save the photos for the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.
If the appeal is successful ‘they will be in the public domain’, confirmed Bridget Cusack, the Institute’s museum development coordinator.
‘They will all be available for the public to come and visit,’ she told Amateur Photographer.
Captain Scott shot the images under the guidance of expedition photographer Herbert Ponting, according to the Institute, which is part of the University of Cambridge.
The images, a mixture of landscapes and portraits, are deemed important because Scott himself was behind the camera.
So far, campaigners have raised around a fifth of the £275,000 purchase price.
In a video appeal, Sir Ranulph Fiennes said: ‘The negatives of Scott’s lost photographs are of major significance to the national heritage.
‘They are a key component of the expedition’s material legacy as an object and as a collection in themselves.
‘Although the Scott Polar Research Institute hold prints of a number of these photographs, acquiring the negatives is very important.
‘They take you right back to the point of origin, a fact made all the more exciting given that the Institute also holds the camera on which they were taken.’
The vendor – a private collector – granted the archive an 11th-hour ‘stay of execution’ by extending the fund-raising deadline to 25 March.
Anyone who can make a donation is urged to visit http://bit.ly/1nWQz0k