Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912)
An embossed and engraved silvered memorial plaque, headed 'Antarctic Expedition', with four scenes from the 1910-1913 expedition quartered on a central rectangular area: the first showing a dog sledge leaving the Terra Nova, the second Scott's polar party ready to man-haul a sledge, the third of the five-man party at the pole, the fourth of the memorial and burial place of Scott, Wilson and Bowers, the inner corners of the scenes separated by a small medalllion with a 'mask' of the ship's-cat 'Nigger', the outer corners of the plaque with medallion portraits of Scott, Kathleen and their infant son Peter, the fourth corner with a medallion view of the monument to Scott, the four corners linked by an outer border of scroll work bearing the names of the five who died: Oates, Scott, Bowers, Wilson and Evans. Ebonised oak frame, with a small separate plaque mounted on the frame reading 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori', all contained within a custom-made close-fitting display box of blue morocco gilt, with shaped lid, in two sections, swinging open on hinges to left and right, integral stand, the interior lined with light blue velvet and ice-blue crushed silk.
10 x 14in. (25.4 x 35.6cm.)
Provenance: Sir Peter Markham Scott (1909-1989, lettering on outer protective brown paper packaging); by descent.
This unique plaque was presumably presented to Sir Peter's mother, Kathleen. The images are all taken from well-known photographs. It is interesting to note that the image of the infant Peter is taken from a photograph by a Daily Mirror photographer of Scott's son tending his garden, published at the time of the arrival of the news of the death of Scott. All the main images used on the plaque appeared in the issues of the Daily Mirror for either 12 February, 1913 or 21 May of the same year. This may suggest that the plaque has some connection with the newspaper (which had negotiated exclusive rights to the expedition photographs with Scott before his departure.) Little else is known of the origins of the plaque. Other versions are recorded (see the following two lots 238 and 239, also Christie's, 29 April 1999, lot 176).