Marking the centenary of Shackleton’s death, the exhibition explores the role of photography and literature throughout Shackleton’s career, and the influences and motivations behind Shackleton's fascination with Antarctica.
Documenting the role of photography and literature throughout Shackleton’s career, the exhibition presents the influences and motivation which led him to a lifetime commitment to the polar region and building public awareness and understanding of the continent. At its heart lies the exceptional story of the Endurance expedition – a pivotal moment in Shackleton’s polar career, turning disaster to triumph, and where his focus on the power of photography to document the experience was paramount.
Drawing on original documents and photography – some previously unseen and newly digitised – guest curator Dr Jan Piggott, former Keeper of Archives and Rare Books at Dulwich College, has chronicled Shackleton’s early life, schooldays, career, his own writing and love of poetry, and achievements before and after the world famous Endurance expedition, adding to the Society’s successful 2015 Enduring Eye exhibition content curated by polar historian and writer Meredith Hooper.
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The Society would like to thank the following organisations and individuals:
Exhibition curators: Meredith Hooper and Dr Jan Piggott
Physical exhibition designers: Sarner International Limited
The Shackleton Company, The James Caird Society, The Folio Society, South Georgia Association, Devon and Cornwall Polar Society
The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust, Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, British Antarctic Territory, Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, Rolex (for its support for the Society's Picture Library and contribution towards conservation of its Collections), The National Heritage Lottery Fund
The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton FRGS, Mr Jan Chojecki, Dr Jan Faull, Mr John James, The late Mr Henry Worsley FRGS
Associated Newspapers Limited, Bridgeman Images, British Antarctic Survey, The British Film Institute, The British Library, Buenos Aires Herald, Christie’s, The Daily Mirror, Dulwich College, Illustrated London News/Mary Evans, Museum of London, The Royal Albert Hall, Scott Polar Research Institute, State Library (New South Wales, Australia), State Library (Victoria, Australia), Alexander Turnbull Library (Wellington, New Zealand), USGS, NASA, National Science Foundation
Within the Society’s Photographic Collection there are some historical images (and image titles or captions) which are recognised as containing unacceptable forms of language, or present image content that is considered inappropriate. In such cases, as part of its Collections policy, the Society maintains access to those images and descriptors as a source of context and information for researchers, recognising that the historical language used or image subjects in themselves do not reflect the Society’s contemporary position as an organisation wholly committed to principles of equality and diversity.
Featured image: South Georgia (part of panorama) by Frank Hurley, RGS-IBG S0027501
Famous explorers were often inspired by literature; none read more widely than Shackleton.
Selected images featured in this online exhibition can be purchased from the RGS Print Store.
A limited edition of 42 images taken by the Endurance expedition’s official photographer Frank Hurley.
Explore a selection of drawings and watercolours from our Collections, illustrating people and landscapes, many produced decades before the camera became part of the standard expedition kit.
This exhibition showcases a selection of platinum prints made from the newly digitised negatives of the 1921 British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition.
The history of exploration has often invited celebration; after all, to travel into the unknown is easier said than done. But what, and whom, shall we celebrate?
The fascinating story of the search for the Northwest Passage, featuring a wide selection of images from our Collections.
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