Tuesday, 13 March 2012

On a recent visit to London I went to the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace ( www.royalcollection.org.uk/microsites/HOTGA ) to see Herbert Ponting's stunning photographs of Scott's ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic 100 years ago. The photographs were simply huge beautiful images of a frozen wasteland, often printed on coloured paper to give an idea of the colour they saw, but were not able under the conditions, to record using photography as a medium.

Towards the end of the exhibition having rushed through the photos of Shackleton's own expedition I saw two watercolour paintings, made on site during Scott's journey and have shown one here.

Unfortunately I did not note who it was that painted this small but equally beautiful image of a vast and colourful landscape. The brush strokes and restrained use of colour were inspiring and showed that what these people saw, often before they were due to die, was simply nature's wonder.

As Capt. Lawrence Oates memorably said, "I am just going outside and maybe some time." His body was never found. The photo he took of himself, with Scott and three others shortly before they did indeed die, was saddening in it's portrayal of their desperation and hopelessness. Giants amongst men.

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