• Terra-nova-c-h-ponting-photograph-canterbury-museum-nz-19xx_2_432

    Terra Nova. ©H Ponting photograph, Canterbury Museum NZ, 19XX.2.432

  • Atkinson-_-h-ponting-canterbury-museum

    Dr Edward Atkinson in the laboratory ca 1911 © H Ponting photograph Canterbury Museum New Zealand

  • Adelie-penguin_c_-natural-history-museum_-london

    Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae © The Natural History Museum

  • Brittle-star_c_-natural-history-museum_-london

    Brittle star, Astrotoma agassizii © The Natural History Museum

  • Scott-in-hut-_-h-ponting-photograph_-pennell-collection_-canterbury-museum-nz-1975_2

    Scott writing in his area of the expedition hut, Scott’s cubicle ©H Ponting photograph

  • Emperor-penguin-egg1-_c_-natural-history-museum_-london

    © The Natural History Museum

  • Expedition-team-with-scott-centre-_-h-ponting-photograph_-pennell-collection_-canter

    © The Natural History Museum

  • Golden-syrup-tin-_-canterbury-museum-nz

    Lyles Golden Syrup tin ©Canterbury Museum New Zealand

  • Ski-boots_-said-to-have-belonged-to-scott-_-canterbury-museum-nz

    Ski boots, said to have belonged to Scott ©Canterbury Museum New Zealand

  • Isopod_-glyptonotus-antarcticus-_-natural-history-museum-london

    Isopod, Glyptonotus antarcticus © The Natural History Museum

  • Rowntrees-tin-_-canterbury-museum-nz

    © The Natural History Museum

  • Coffee-tin-c-canterbury-museum-nz

    Coffee tin ©Canterbury Museum New Zealand

  • Dog-and-gramophone-c-h-ponting-photograph-canterbury-museum-nz

    Chris and the Gramophone ca 1911 © H Ponting photograph Canterbury Museum New Zealand

  • Lashly_s_goggles-c-canterbury-museum-nz

    Lashly’s snow goggles ©Canterbury Museum New Zealand

Exhibition

What's On: Scott's Last Expedition

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

Even if you think you know about Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s last expedition to Antarctica, it’s quite different to see the artefacts – the letters and journal entries, the boots, aluminium slitted sun goggles and specimens in jars, the extraordinary ghost-like footage of Herbert Ponting’s Great White Silence. Seeing them and reading through the fascinating and saddening anecdotal records is something else entirely. Displayed within a full scale model of the wooden hut at Cape Evans where the team stayed through the winter months, this show at the Natural History Museum in London is worth every second. If you can ignore school children.

It starts with the part of the story everyone knows – newspaper cuttings announce that Scott and his team perished whilst returning from the South Pole, a feat forestalled by a Norwegian team lead by Roald Amundsen. The tragedy of their disappointment and extraordinary struggle for survival branded Scott and the men national heroes of the day, aided by Scott’s own diaries that chronicled it all to the last.

But you come to grips with the letters and journals later in the show, first you are taken back to the beginning and the monumental effort that went into bringing the expedition to pass at all.

There are brilliant little insights and rare artefacts like the sponsored packs of food and woollen pants – their original packaging a joy in their own right – and a sort of day-to-day itinerary of objects that served in turn for entertainment, science and survival (I made particular note of the 10 cases of brandy and 120 bottles of fortified wine they took).

The space itself is very cleverly laid out, stories of the team, members where their bunks were, detail on the scientific endeavours in the makeshift labs together with quite beautiful illustrations of their findings (they brought back over 2,000 plant and animal species, 401 of which were new to science) and everywhere, photos.

Ponting was an artist, his films and images doing more to project the terrible beauty and hardy tale of perseverance directly into the nation’s imagination than written reports which, in the swing of public opinion, would later be raised as a point of contention with Scott’s heroism contradicted (only to return, 100 years later, to a more balanced view).

Personally, I’m into all the writing in an exhibition of this sort – I didn’t feel like I was being beaten over the head with a history book and the creative chronology in its curation made the whole thing play out like a film or documentary, with the weight of the show’s conclusion casting each piece of their expedition in an affecting and all the more remarkable light.

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Exhibition View Archive

  1. List

    In 1915, two years before the Russian Revolution took place, an exhibition took place in St Petersburg which turned the art world upside down. Entitled The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings: 0.10, it included one of Kazimir Malevich’s now iconic black square paintings, a profound and original offering in a 20th Century society which repressed modern ideas almost as furiously as it bred them, and it’s this spirit of radical thinking in the midst of a restrictive society which sits at the root of the Whitechapel Gallery’s new exploration of abstract art, Adventures of the Black Square.

  2. List

    With photography now a ubiquitous medium gifted to everyone for the price of a smartphone, it’s easy to forget that it was once the preserve of only a select few pioneers, whose experiments with light-sensitive chemicals and simple mechanical structures gave birth to something we all take for granted today. But a new show at The Science Museum’s Media Space seeks to remind us of the pioneering endeavours of modern photography’s forebears.

  3. List

    The name Jeremy Deller conjures up all manner of conflicting images in my mind’s eye; of frivolous inflatable sculptures and brass bands playing acid house; of turbulent clashes between miners and police and the rusted bodies of motor vehicles. He’s got a real knack for uniting ideas that feel inherently opposite. So his latest show at Modern Art Oxford shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise in its bringing together of two figures who seem very much at odds with each other.

  4. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  5. List

    There are equal doses of pleasure and frustration to be had in stumbling across the work of a photographer you’ve never seen before. It’s classic FOMO on a macro scale, coupled with joy at the prospect of showing off the treasure you’ve found. At least that’s what I felt when I discovered that photographer Mark Neville was to be showing two of his photo-series alongside one another in a new show entitled London/Pittsburgh at London’s Alan Cristea Gallery.

  6. List-flyers-for-the-institute-at-sexology.-photography-by-russell-dornan_-design-by-liam-relph-(3)

    London’s Wellcome Collection space always hosts explorations of the things that fascinate us most. It’s covered death, it’s exhaustively explored the human body in all its glory and grotesquery, and now it’s moved on to surely the most fascinating of all – sex, or more precisely, how people have studied it.

  7. List

    How’s this for a collaboration? Artist Quentin Jones, who counts photography, animation, painting and filmmaking among the tools of her trade, has teamed up with spatial designer Robert Storey to create the setting for her new exhibition in the The Vinyl Factory Space on London’s Brewer Street, with Robert creating a set for each of Quentin’s works.

  8. Main

    Right now, illustrator-turned artist extraordinaire Jordy van den Niewendijk is probably having a nap. For the last few weeks he’s been rushing around the world getting his work together for a very exciting solo show at New York’s trendy Moiety Gallery. It’s safe to say Jordy is one of our favourite artists, and to see his work evolve aesthetically over the years yet still cling on to that trademark style is great, a little bit like watching one of those cool videos of flowers blooming in slow-mo.

  9. Mp

    Hands up who loves boobies and butts? The pervier of us will appreciate this brand new show from Mike Perry which sees him collate all his brilliant nudie drawings in one place, and if you’re not a perv you’ll just love the colours. They say the human form is a beautiful thing, but sometimes people forget that it’s also super fun too. Good for lovely, bearded Mike for noticing this and spending ages drawing people with legs akimbo on coloured paper to entertain us straight-laced British folk. If you’re into illustration and/or nudity, head down to KK Outlet tonight for this scintillating show.

  10. List

    In 1963, the Royal College of Art held an exhibition celebrating 15 years of the school of graphic design. In the show’s catalogue, Professor Richard Guyatt remembered the days when the term was adopted by the college. “With a certain sense of relief, but not much conviction, the name ‘Graphic Design’ was chosen,” he wrote. “No one was quite sure what it meant, but it had a purposeful ring…”

  11. 4list.-charles-jourdan_-spring-1976-%c2%a9-guy-bourdin

    In the summer of 1979, several legs boarded a ferry travelling from Dieppe to Plymouth. However unlike most other legs making the journey, these didn’t have any feeling in their toes.

  12. Main1

    Just over a week ago It’s Nice That’s Jamie McIntyre and I took a train from London to Glasgow to the much-antiticipated Graphic Design Festival Scotland. We had been invited by Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist, two students who had recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. During their degree the two had found themselves working best when together, and decided to form Warriors Studio as a duo. They began thinking about the climate of graphic design in Scotland, the need for something new and exciting and – most importantly – what the hell they were going to do when term ends and they were turfed out to fend for themselves.

  13. List

    Designing for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year must be in many ways a dream project, in many ways a nightmare. Creating graphics that can seamlessly place disciplines as disparate as graphic design, furniture, product and architecture comfortably next to one another takes skill and an eye for leaving said projects to speak for themselves. Ok-RM’s graphics did just that, sitting back to let the viewer to make their own decisions about each project on its own merit, regardless of how it was made or by whom. Clean, well-spaced and scant typography work with clever colour-coding to form an overall aesthetic that more than deserves its place alongside the best designs of the past 12 months.