Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922)
BURROUGHS WELLCOME & CO. (manufacturers). Shackleton's brown leather 'Tabloid' saddle-case approx. 3½ x 8¾ x 1¼in. (9 x 22 x 3cm.), with fold-over flaps, all secured by a leather strap with metal clasp, the ten-loop interior containing six glass vials (6.5cm. long approx.), each with paper label, five with cork stopper (three with printed 'Burroughs Wellcome & Co.' labels with typed identification: 'Yellow Oxide of Mercury B.P. Ointment'; 'Compound Mercury Ointment'; 'Zinc Ointment', one with printed 'Burroughs Wellcome & Co.' label: 'Tabloid... Cascara Sagrada (Dry Extract) Compressed gr. 2 (0.13 gm.)', one with printed label 'Poison Potassium Permanganate (Crystals)'), one with aluminium lid and printed 'Parkes Chemist Ltd... East Molesey' label with manuscript identification: 'Pure Vaseline'. (Some light scuffing and old ink stains to exterior of wallet).
Provenance: Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922), and by descent to the present owner.
Shackleton's personal emergency pack of medicinal/chemical preparations with various uses, including antiseptics, disinfectants and a laxative. Carried by Shackleton on his historic southern journey of 1908-9: 'In the Antarctic, 'Tabloid' Medicine Chests and Products formed the sole medical equipment of Shackleton when he established the then record "Farthest South" - within 97 miles of the Pole. His relief ship Morning was similarly equipped. The subjoined report was dated Sept. 17, 1909:- "The British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-9, was equipped with a very complete Medical Equipment contracted for solely by Messrs. Burroughs Wellcome & Co., and consisting of 'Soloid' and 'Tabloid' preparations, which are the only forms that can be conveniently carried and preserved under such conditions...the Congo Cases...were always used when at our base, and both the party of three who reached the South Magnetic Pole, and the party under Lieut. Shackleton, who attained a point 97 miles from the Geographical South Pole, carried a brown leather 'Tabloid' Case, and all the 'Tabloid' products that remain are now in as good condition as when first handed over to my care two years ago...' ERIC P. MARSHALL, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., Surgeon" Signed British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-9 ERNEST H. SHACKLETON, Commander' (Burroughs Wellcome & Co. Price List of 1913, Historical Medical Equipments, p.253).
Burroughs Wellcome & Co. supplied 'Tabloid' Medicine Chests and Cases to all of the great Arctic and Antarctic expeditions from the late 19th century on, supplying Nansen, Peary, Amundsen and Scott on both the Discovery and Terra Nova (see lot 107) expeditions. Shackleton also carried a 'Tabloid' case on the Discovery sledging journey with Scott and Wilson in 1902-3.
Shackleton suffered a catalogue of physical hardships on his two historic sledging journeys, with Scott and Wilson on the Discovery Expedition, and with Wild, Marshall and Adams on the Nimrod Expedition. He was at the extreme limits of endurance on both journeys, suffering from frostbite, open wounds, burst lips and heels, blisters, sunburn, scurvy, starvation, acute dysentery, asthma and snowblindness.