H.R. Wilkinson (photographer)
British Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904: Shackleton's cabin on Discovery
signed and inscribed (by Shackleton) 'my cabin/Ernest. "Discovery"' on the mount, inscribed and dated (by the photographer) 'Dec 21st 1901/with Best Wishes/from/H.R. Wilkinson/Bromley' on the reverse of the mount
two albumen prints laid down on card, unframed
5 7/8 x 10¼in. (15 x 26cm.)
[With:] C. Vandyk (photographer)
Ernest Shackleton, Third Officer of Carisbrooke Castle, 1901
dated '1901' on the mount, photographer's stamp 'C. Vandyk 125 Gloucester Road, Queens Gate, S.W.'
carte-de-visite three-quarter length portrait photograph
5 7/8 x 3 7/8in. (15 x 9.9cm.)
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922), and thence by descent.
Shackleton joined Discovery at London Docks in July 1901 as Third Lieutenant 'In charge of sea-water analysis. Ward room caterer. In charge of the holds, stores, and provisions, and arranges and serves out provisions. He also arranges the entertainments' ('Final List of Officers and Crew of the Discovery who entered the Ice', Geographical Journal, vol 19, p.443.)
His cabin was in between Hodgson's and Bernacchi's on the starboard side of the saloon, or wardroom as it was in the nomenclature on this quasi naval expedition, one of ten wardroom cabins for Scott and his executive officers and scientists (for a discussion of the cabins, destroyed in the 1924-1928 rebuild, and their original occupants on the expedition, see D.E. Yelverton, Antarctica Unveiled, Boulder, 2000, Appendix 4, pp.375-80). The photograph (published in the Sphere, September 1901) probably dates to the eve of departure from East India Dock on 31 July 1901, including the vase of carnations remarked on by Queen Alexandra when she visited Shackleton's cabin during the royal inspection at Cowes on 5 August ('The Queen noticed the fine carnations which Dr. Shackleton had sent to decorate his son's cabin..', H.R. Mill, The Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton, London, 1923, p.60) along with family photographs, the Remington typewriter which would type the first volume of The South Polar Times, and a photograph of his hoped for fiancé Emily Dorman above the bedhead.
Shackleton chose this auspicious moment to write to Emily's father from his cabin: 'My dear Mr. Dorman, I must thank you very much for all your good wishes for the coming voyage. I would like to tell you in this letter that it is mainly for one reason that I am going, is to get on so that when I come back or later when I have made money, I might with your permission marry Emily if she still cares for me then as I feel she does now...' (E.H. Shackleton, letter to Charles Dorman, 3 August 1901, SPRI).
The carte-de-visite photograph shows Shackleton in 1901 in the uniform of Third Officer of the Union Castle ship Carisbrook Castle on which he made his last Cape voyage Jan.-March 1901 prior to joining Discovery, after being gazetted Sub-Lieutenant, RNR, in July. (2)