Other Output from the Press at Cape Royds

Launched: 3 April 2010.         Last updated: 3 January 2019

Although the Aurora Australis was the main output of the press at Cape Royds, other ephemeral items were turned out, mainly for celebrations. How large the output was and on how many occasions is not known although perhaps more will come to light in time. Below is the first instance I'm aware of.

1. Menu for Midwinter Celebration June 23rd 1908. This example—two separate sheets printed on one side—is included in Copy 103 of the Aurora (Joyce copy). It was printed on the same paper as the Aurora and has three punched holes on the edge so presumably was bound into the Joyce copy at one time (many of the leaves of this copy are loose).
The two images below are from the auction catalogue for the sale at which the Joyce Aurora was put up.

At the Christie's Polar Sale on Tuesday, 25 September 2001, the same item appeared as Lot 54.
54 BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907-1909 British Antarctic Expedition. 1907. Midwinter Celebration. At Winter Quarters, Cape Royds. Lat. 77° .. 32' S. Long. 166° .. 72' E. June 23rd. 1908. [East Antarctica: printed on the Albion Press by Wild and Joyce, 1908]. 3 leaves (26 x 19cm.): blank leaf, etched plate by George Marston printed on verso of second leaf (recto blank), third leaf with text of menu headed by a woodcut vignette (verso blank). Hole-punched and tied with thin green cord within original pink paper wrappers, letterpress title printed on upper cover with 4-line quote from Tennyson and 'Two Penguins' printer's device (small clean tears to edges of wrappers).
PROVENANCE: Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922), and thence by descent.

'After a teetotal regime the Midwinter Day, the Great Polar Festival and Birthday festivals were a release, and an occasion for a 'wild spree'.' (Sir E.H. Shackleton, The Heart of the Antarctic, London, 1909, I, p.216). The same volume shows a photograph of this feast, the hut interior hung with flags, facing p.224.
Estimate: £1,000-1,500 Hammer £8,500; £9987.50 with premium

So it appears that there were three printed leaves within the "pink paper wrappers." The first leaf is blank on both sides. The second leaf is blank on the recto and has an etched plate by Marston on the verso. The third leaf (corresponding to the left image above) has the menu and vignette illustration on the recto and the verso is blank. The image on the right above, then, is from the cover. The Marston etched plate is apparently lacking from the Joyce copy of the Aurora.


Thursday 3 January 2019. Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK.

Lot 1. The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 led by Ernest Shackleton - June 23rd 1908. The Midwinter Celebration Programme from Winter Quarters, Cape Royds. Antarctica. LAT. 77° .. 32 S. LONG. 166° .. 12 E. Printed upon The Albion Press by Wild & Joyce 1908, comprising 3 leaves with etched plate after George Marston (recto blank) printed menu headed by woodcut vignette. Hole punched and tied with green cord, in original pink card wrappers. Printed Letterpress title page with Tennyson quotation and twin penguin printers device. 26 x 19cm.
The 1907 - 1909 Antarctic Expedition. NIMROD Property of WILLIAM CHARLES ROBERTS born 1872 Feltham, London. Travelled to New Zealand upon the SS Runic with 7 shore party members, Roberts was the cook for the expedition but also was acknowledged in his work on the Zoological studies whilst part of the shore party.
Edgeworth David, the leader of the South Magnetic Pole Party named 'Cape Roberts' upon Antarctica after William Charles Roberts during the expedition.
RESULT: £6400 including buyer's premium.