On this day in 1912 Lawrence Oates, a member of Robert Falcon Scott’s
British team to the South Pole, left his tent never to be seen again.
Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition was his second attempt and aimed to become
the first group to reach the South Pole. The group succeeded in
reaching the Pole on January 17th 1912, only to discover that they had
been beaten by Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian expedition. Sadly, Scott’s
entire party of five men died on the return journey. Oates was one of
those who died first. He was suffering from severe frostbite and, in an
apparent act of self-sacrifice, simply walked out of his tent into a
blizzard. He had asked them to leave him behind as his condition
worsened, and it is likely he felt that he was holding his group back
and limiting their chances for survival. Thus on March 16th he walked
out of the tent saying: “I am just going outside and may be some time.”
The others died soon after and their bodies were found by a search
party in November, along with some of their equipment and personal
effects. Oates’s body was never found, but he and his companions are
remembered as brave men and national heroes.
“We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman.” - Entry in Scott’s diary about Oates
Egyptian Wood Mummy Mask, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, 1550-1295 BC
Finely carved, wearing a tripartite wig, with straight nose and small
mouth, the large almond-shaped eyes inlaid with stone and obsidian, the
long finely-arched eyebrows recessed once for inlay, a socket under the
chin once for attachment of the false beard, traces of bitumen
remaining, 22in high.
The fact that the eyes are separately made and inlaid into the wood
indicates that the deceased was a person of fairly high status. This is possibly from Saqqara, Abydos or Thebes. It’s from the Collection of Lady Jane Franklin (04 December 1791 – 18 July 1875) the Tasmanian traveler and wife of polar explorer Sir John Franklin.
Those of you who have been following me for any length of time know that I’ve got a bit of an obsession for the Terra Nova Expedition, a.k.a. the Scott Expedition, a.k.a. the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13. I have now set up a side Tumblr specifically for this project, on which I will post new drawings as they come, but also interesting things I find in the course of my research, exploration of the people and events, photographs old and new, process, and tidbits of my own adventures in the world of polar history – the sort of things I want to share, but don’t want to clutter up my art blog.
If you’re curious about the story that has so enthralled me, want to know who these people are that you keep seeing in my sketchbook, or just want to stare at what happens when someone’s hobby comes to take over their life, then please follow worstjourney.tumblr.com and you will, I hope, be satisfied.
At the moment I’m mostly reposting old stuff in order to have it all in one place, but I aim to have new material a couple times a week, and as time goes on, more and more of it will be new. Where are we going? I don’t know! But I hope you’ll come along with me.
Since a lot of people seem interested in it, here’s another video on the discovery of the HMS Erebus. It was found in surprisingly shallow waters. 11 meters is roughly 36 feet, less than the average I dive (40-45) and much less than the recreational limit of 100 feet.
The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances than those expected.
January 17th, Captain Scott becomes the second man to stand at the South Pole. At this point Amundsen was at making camp at 82 degrees south, nine days from reaching his home base at Framheim on January 26th. Whatever personal opinions of all this may be, that’s the way it happened. Internet arguments rage about the scientific outcomes of the expedition not being worth the cost, but you can’t argue that the volumes of data the British Antarctic Expedition brought home on the meteorology, biology, and geology of the Antarctic continent had a more lasting impact on society than simply being first. And yes, there was much more than simply a few fossils. For those interested in the infamous ‘thirty five pound of rocks that killed Scott’, I can nerd out on the paleontology of Antarctica by saying amongst them were Glossopteris fossils. Glossopteris plants are an extinct form of Permian (roughly 250-300 million years ago) tropical fern found previously in South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia. Their discovery on the very remote continent of Antarctica gave very strong evidence for the theory of continental drift. Antarctica was once at a more equatorial location and part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana. Below is a map from geosociety.org showing Antarctica in its location in former Gondwana.
Tom Hardy Tackling Antarctic Explorer Ernest Shackleton In Studiocanal Epic
EXCLUSIVE: The legendary exploits of Ernest Shackleton has drawn the interest of many of the biggest stars and directors in the stratosphere, but the tale has been too logistically difficult. Now, Tom Hardy looks to be the rugged actor who’ll take on the role of Shackleton, as an epic movie is coming together with Peter Straughan writing the script, and Studiocanal coming aboard to fully finance. Who’s Shackleton? He led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, but the polar explorer is best remembered in how he handled adversity. His ship Endurance was crushed by ice floes and he managed to keep everyone alive in a harrowing journey to safety in sub zero temperatures. CAA and United Agents rep Hardy, who was Oscar nominated for The Revenant and next stars in the Christopher Nolan-directed Dunkirk.
The balloon ‘Eva’ ascending near the Discovery in 1902. It allowed Captain Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Reginald Koettlitz, and T. V. Hodgson to become the first men to obtain an aerial view of Antarctica and Shackleton the opportunity to take the first aerial photos. The discovery of leaks and a broken valve prevented any flights beyond the initial four. Dr. Wilson refused to take a turn. He referred to the operation as a 'dangerous amusement’ run by amateurs, adding that if no one came to grief over it, it was 'because God has pity on the foolish.’
Robert Falcon Scott, The Voyage of the Discovery Volume I
Edward Wilson, Diary of the 'Discovery’ Expedition