DIMENSIONS: 19.5” X 27”
(49.5 CM X 68.6 CM)
PRICE: $19.95 US
PHOTOGRAPH BY: FRANK HURLEY
IMAGE SOURCE: SCOTT POLAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, UK
This portrait of Sir Ernest H. Shackleton was taken aboard the Endurance by Frank Hurley, late in 1914. On the journey from South Georgia into the Weddell Sea, Shackleton sat for the portrait wearing a wool sweater and a pair of his fur sledging mitts.
Described by many of his contemporaries and historians as one of the greatest polar explorers ever, Shackleton led three Antarctic expeditions after first going south with Scott on the Discovery in 1902. Shackleton was knighted after the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909 (aboard the Nimrod) during which he got to within 97 miles of the South Pole, and was the first to find a gateway through the Trans-Antarctic mountains onto the forbidding polar plateau.
He is best remembered for his heroic leadership of the epic Endurance Expedition (1914-1916) in which he brought all 27 men under his charge back to safety after their ship was crushed by sea ice before reaching land.
This poster bears a quote from Shackleton, "Never for me the lowered banner, never the last endeavour".
The mitts he wore in the portrait were connected at the cuffs by a large harness that draped around his neck and across his chest. The harness served the same purpose as the strings parents attach to their children's mitts - to prevent the loss of such important outerwear. In the midst of the bone chilling conditions of an Antarctic blizzard a dropped mitt, blown away by the ferocious winds, could quickly become a deadly proposition. Fingers would go numb in seconds in the frigid polar conditions. Frostbite was not far behind. Suddenly, the simplest of tasks such as pitching a tent, lighting a stove or harnessing the dogs becomes a major ordeal. Combined with the exhaustion and malnourishment of a long sledging journey, losing ones mitts could easily lead to death. Virtually all the explorers of the day used this type of a harness for their mitts.