25 September 2008
BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1910-1913
George P. ABBOTT (188-1923). -- BIBLE, New Testament in English. The Indexed Testament, indexed and marked ... on all subjects connected with the theme of salvation ... Marked by J.G. Lawson. London: Collins' Clear-Type Press, [no date but 1902]. 16° (118 x 90mm.). Printed in red and black, inscribed calling card tipped-in at rear. Modern limp red morocco incorporating original red morocco upper cover blocked in gilt. Provenance: 'The Indexed Testament. Antarctic Expedition "Terra Nova" Nov. 1910 With all good wishes A.N. Falconer (Seamen's Missionary) Dunedin ; John 3.16' (lettered thus on upper cover) -- Mrs. Emily Abbott (G.P. Abbott's wife, calling card, inscribed in ink on verso 'Wishing you much joy and happiness'); Anon. sale, Christie's, 21 Sept. 2000, lot 91.
The Terra Nova arrived at Port Chalmers on Sunday 27 November. Pausing only to re-coal and await the arrival of Scott, Wilson and others who had travelled down from Lyttelton by train, the expedition finally set sail for the south on Tuesday 29 November 1910.
It is not clear if A.N. Falconer presented copies of the New Testament to all of the expedition or to selected members only: Captain Lawrence Oates certainly received a copy (cf. sale Christie's, 27 September 1996, lot 169) and recorded the visit of 'a parson' from the 'Missions to Seamen': 'I had a job helping the ship's carpenter to refit the cross tress on the foremast. It was rather amusing as a parson came up belonging to the Missions to Seamen'. (Oates quoted in S. Limb and P. Cordingly, Captain Oates, Soldier and Explorer, London: 1982, p.165). Abbott is recorded as having worked with the ship's carpenter Davies in Lyttelton, so may well have been working with Oates when the parson visited the Terra Nova.
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