25 September 2001
Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912)
Two autograph letters signed to Vice-Admiral Sir Albert Markham, H.M.S. Majestic, Channel Squadron, 19 June  and n.d., together 7 pages, 8vo (some remnants of old tape); together with a note, apparently in the hand of Sir Clements Markham, entitled 'Boats', and listing the small boats of the Assistance, Alert and 'Antarctic' (presumably Discovery), one page, 8vo, laid down on card.
Scott discusses the planning of the Discovery expedition. On 19 June he debates the choice of the small boats for the vessel, deferring to 'the experience which chose them' and the 'excellent reasons' which must have lain behind the choice, but insisting that, from his own experience and consultation with 'practical men', the provisions were unsatisfactory and the boats envisaged would be 'in fact smaller than the smallest ship in the service possesses', and asking for Markham's intervention at the Ship Committee. The second letter refers to the Scott's disagreement with the committee as to the number of 'executives' on the expedition: he has written to members of the committee urging on each 'my strong disinclination to accept a less executive staff than four ... I consider the safety of all is threatened by the reduction'; the letter refers again to the question of the boats - 'at present I would sooner see an extra 2 ft on the whalers & the absence of the jolly boat'.
Scott's deferential tone on his initial acceptance of the position of commander of the National Antarctic Expedition quickly changed (possibly under the prompting of Sir Clements Markham) to a bullish insistence on control over all aspects of the expedition. Scott's well-known ultimatum to the Presidents of the R.G.S. and the Royal Society in late June 1900, insisting on his 'complete command of the ship and landing parties' and threatening his resignation if opposed, also made a requirement of there being four executive officers, 'exclusive of myself'. (2)
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
A 360-view of Dalva Brothers: Parisian Taste in New York, showcasing the finest examples of 18th century French furniture, porcelain and sculpture
Auctioneers Cécile Verdier and Jussi Pylkkänen introduce a dynamic cross-channel live conversation between London and Paris for 20th Century week