SCOTT'S LAST EXPEDITION. In Two Volumes. Vol. I. being the Journals of Captain R. F. Scott, R.N., C.V.O. Vol. II. being the Reports of the Journeys & the Scientific Work undertaken by Dr. E. A. Wilson and the surveying members of the expedition arranged by Leonard Huxley.

First edition, first printing. Two volumes. Large 8vo. Autograph letter signed by Captain Scott tipped-in. Publisher's original navy blue cloth with titles in gilt to the upper boards and spines. Top edges gilt, the others untrimmed. Title pages printed in red and black. Illustrated with a photogravure frontispiece to each volume, 6 other photogravure plates after original sketches by Dr E. A. Wilson, 18 coloured plates (16 from drawings by Wilson), 260 full-page and smaller illustrations, including numerous plates from photographs taken by Herbert G. Ponting and other members of the expedition, 11 folding panoramas, and 8 folding maps. 3 page manuscript letter in ink from Captain Scott to Mrs. [Marian] Noble on embossed headed notepaper for 56, Oakley Street, Chelsea Embankment, dated 9.1.08, tipped-in on the front free endpaper of volume two. Printed portrait photograph of Scott captioned 'Unpublished Photograph by Wilson Noble' affixed to the half title of volume one. A very good set, the bindings square, firm and bright with a touch of rubbing to the joints, minor wear to the spine ends (including a small nick to the head of volume one), a faint crease to the spine of volume one and a little bumping and wear to the corners. The contents, with the engraved bookplate of Leonard Noble to the front pastedown of each volume, a contemporary news cutting affixed to the front endpaper of volume one, a 3cm tear to the foot of the same page, and light scattered foxing, are otherwise in very good order throughout.

An extensively illustrated account of Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole, during which Scott and four of his compatriots lost their lives attempting to navigate their return across the polar ice. Based upon the letters and diaries which were discovered alongside the men's bodies, the present work provides an intimate narrative of their journey, including their discovery that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them to the pole, as well as Scott's famous description of Captain Oates's decision to walk out into the snow for the final time. It also contains the men's last letters to their families and friends, amongst which is Scott's final public address: "We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last... Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale, but surely, surely, a great rich country like ours will see that those who are dependent on us are properly provided for." In the manuscript letter contained within the present copy, Scott writes to family friend Marian Noble, wife of the barrister and Conservative politician Wilson Noble (1854-1917), regarding a photograph she has recently sent him: "I am most grateful for the photograph you so kindly sent me. Though one or two have moved the general group and most of the likenesses are excellent, and I shall value the memento highly". He goes on to thank Marian again "for my pleasant visit to Park Place and for all your kindnesses", with a postscript adding that "my mother sends her kindest regards - she is very well but finds these very cold days rather trying", unlike her son it would seem! It is not known to which photograph Scott is referring, however, also tipped-in to the present copy is another photograph by Wilson - a portrait of Scott himself - which was later used by his daughter, Evelyn Noble, as part of a flyer for a chain letter campaign by the 'English Girls' Fund' to raise money for a Scott memorial in 1913 (which ultimately raised 225 from over 4,000 contributors). Following his death, Scott had become a national icon, and such drives to memorialise both him and his expedition team, as well as to raise money for their bereaved families (as Scott had implored) were widespread. A nice association copy. (Rosove, 290.A1; Spence, 1056).

Stock code: 24064


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London: Smith, Elder & Co.


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