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    Sale 7652

    Exploration and Travel

    25 September 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 154

    Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard (1886-1959)

    Cherry-Garrard's silk sledging flag, sewn and embroidered by his sister, Ida Cherry-Garrard, and carried on Scott's British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-13

    Price Realised  


    Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard (1886-1959)
    Cherry-Garrard's silk sledging flag, sewn and embroidered by his sister, Ida Cherry-Garrard, and carried on Scott's British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-13
    a standard with the Cross of St George (a red Cross on a white ground) nearest the hoist, the remainder of the flag divided horizontally with two stripes (white above navy), the two embroidered crests of Cherry- Garrard surmounting the family motto 'CHÉRIS L'ESPOIR.'
    11 7/8 x 39¾in. (30 x 101cm.)
    framed and glazed

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    The tradition of carrying sledging flags derived from the Franklin Search expeditions of the nineteenth century and was revived by Sir Clements Markham. Markham himself, pursuing his enthusiasms for genealogy and heraldry, designed some of the flags which 'were of the same pattern as in the Arctic expedition of 1875-6. The cross of St George at the hoist to denote that, whatever family the bearer may belong to, his is first and foremost an Englishman. The fly is divided per fess with colours of the arms of the officer, undivided if one colour, with the crest or principal charge on the arms, swallow-tailed, with a border or fringe of the colours of the arms'. (Sir C. Markham, The Lands of Silence, London, 1921, p.450)

    Cherry's sledging flag was carried on the Depôt Journey, the Winter Journey, the Polar Journey, the Dog Journey to One Ton Depôt and on the Search Journey. It can clearly be seen hanging above Cherry in Ponting's photograph of Scott's Birthday dinner on 6 June 1911 and also decorated the Hut at Cape Evans for the Midwinter Day dinner on 22 June 1911. It had come out before, on Christmas Day 1910, in the wardroom of the Terra Nova:

    'I don't think many at home had a more pleasant Christmas Day than we. It was beautifully calm with the pack all round. At 10 we had church with lots of Christmas hymns, and then decorated the ward-room with all our sledging flags. These flags are carried by officers on Arctic expeditions, and are formed of the St George's Cross with a continuation ending in a swallow-tail in the heraldic colour to which the individual is entitled, and upon this is embroidered his crest. ... The ward-room ate penguin in the evening, and after the toast of "absent friends" we began to sing, and twice round the table everybody had to contribute a song. Ponting's banjo songs were a great success, also Oates's "The Vly on the tuurmuts". Meares sang "a little song about our Expedition, and many of the members that Southward would go", of his own composition. The general result was that the watches were all over the place that night.' (A. Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, London, 1994, p.77)

    Cherry's flag was made for him by his sister Ida, younger than him by only fourteen-and-a-half months and nicknamed 'Lassie' to his 'Laddie', in the frenetic weeks before he set sail for the South. 'Apsley had been accepted on the expedition just five weeks before the ship was due to sail: a very short time to prepare for a trip that would last eighteen months at least. ... At Lamer he sorted through a rubble of new purchases spread over the study floor between teetering piles of books, and the girls scuttled in with offers of knitted headwear. Lassie set about making a sledging flag, rushing down to the Kensington School of Art to learn a special new stitch that appeared the same at the back and the front.' (S. Wheeler, Cherry, A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard, London, 2001, p.61). The result drew particular and deserved praise from his fellow officers, Debenham remarking, 'Some of the flags were simply gorgeous and magnificently worked. ... Cherry-Garrard's is perhaps the best, two weird animals worked in silk, the texture showing the slightest changes in colour, surmounting the "Cheris l'espoir".' (J.D. Back (ed.), The Quiet Land, The Antarctic Diaries of Frank Debenham, Huntingdon, 1992, p.31-2)

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard and thence by descent; sale, Sotheby's, 13 Nov. 2003, lot 205.
    Private collection.

    Pre-Lot Text