Captain Scott’s 101-year-old Pocket Diary
To be Auctioned at Christie’s
South Kensington – A pocket diary, once owned by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, CVO (6 June 1868 – c. 29 March 1912), one of the most well-known British explorers of the 20th century, which contains new revelations into the preparation for the explorer’s most dangerous quest will be sold at Christie’s later this month. The leather-bound book, measuring just over 12 x 9cm, dates from Scott’s last months spent in England ahead of his fateful Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole, and includes extensive notes detailing his preparations, including ‘Go to furs people & sledges’ and ‘11.0 Audience H.M. The King’. Estimated to fetch between £6,000 and £10,000, the important historical document is being sold by the family of Captain Scott. The book will be will be sold alongside over 200 objects, instruments, globes and illustrations in Christie’s Travel, Science and Natural History sale in South Kensington on 29 September; estimates range from £400 to £60,000.
Historic Annotations - Scott's pocket diary for his last months in England offers a vivid, though elliptical, insight into the frantic pace of preparations for the Terra Nova expedition – almost every entry relates to his upcoming expedition. The earliest entry, for 4 December 1909, notes ‘Interview Drs Wilson & Atkinson’; on 20 December, ‘Wilson with Candidates’; and other appointments as the months go by include practical meetings at the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions, Admiralty and the R.G.S.. Scott’s departure for Norway is noted on February, where on 1 March he is to ‘Go to furs people & sledges’. Many of the entries also reflect Scott's preoccupation with the financing of the expedition, which takes him on tours to Middlesbrough, Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere, and the necessary round of dinners, lectures and press calls. As the date of the expedition's departure approaches, on 27 April he notes ‘Medical Exam: for Officers’, on 7 May ‘Ship including experiments’ and on 26 May ‘Huntley & Palmers Directors visit Ship’; on 7 June he notes ‘Leave for Cardiff’.
Amongst the last entries are a series of valedictory audiences: 25 June ‘Audience Alexandra’, 5 July ‘11.0 Audience H.M. The King' and 12 July ‘Prime Minister’. Among the concluding memoranda are a few notes of addresses of expedition members, suppliers and others, and scattered memoranda, including ‘send Wilson "Scurvy"’ and the poignant ‘After the expedition a list of firms whose goods were taken and were found to be thoroughly satisfactory will be published’ —for Scott, of course, there was to be no “after the expedition”.
Scott left England for the last time on 16 July, rejoining the Terra Nova in Cape Town.
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High resolution images and further information available upon request
Notes to Editors:
Public Viewing: Saturday 24 September: 11.00am - 5.00pm
Sunday 25 September: 11.00am - 5.00pm
Monday 26 September: 9.00am - 7.30pm
Tuesday 27 September: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Wednesday 28 September: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Auction: Travel, Science and Natural History – Thursday, 29 September 2011 at 10.30am & 2.00pm
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