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Auction: Ponting / British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913

A collection of material relating to H G Ponting including his Emerson medal and correspondence with Buckingham Palace and the Royal Household between 1910 and 1929 is being sold on 3 November at Bonhams, London.

The catalogue footnote reads: 

  • SCOTT'S 'CAMERA ARTIST'S' COMMAND PERFORMANCE

    Ponting was the first professional photographer and film-maker to accompany an expedition to the Antarctic. On his return he lectured extensively in London on the ill-fated Scott expedition and wrote reluctantly that "the outbreak of the Great War ended what had been a highly successful beginning to a novel feature in the entertainment world". In his account of the ill-fated Scott expedition The Great White South, published in 1921, he writes "I had the honour to receive the Royal Command to show my kinematograph record, and tell the story of the Scott Expedition at Buckingham Palace, before Their Majesties the King and Queen, the Royal Family, the King and Queen of Denmark, and several hundred guests". The present correspondence reveals that Ponting was presented with a scarf pin by the King in thanks and in return Ponting presented the King with a portfolio of photographic prints and subsequently copies of his books, although it was noted that "His Majesty prefers to receive books in the same form in which they are issued to the public and not specially bound" and that he shouldn't send films to Balmoral as, contrary to rumour, they don't have the equipment to play them.

    Ponting's Emerson Medal is one of only 57 awarded to photographers who had gained the admiration of P. H. Emerson, the well-known photographer of the life and landscape of the Norfolk Broads. He began awarding these in 1925 and Ponting thereby joined the illustrious ranks of Julia Margaret Cameron, Hippolyte Bayard, Alfred Stieglitz and Nadar.

    Provenance: Thomas Baker McLeroth, Ponting's executor, and by descent.

Read the full catalogue text here: http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22811/lot/145/

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