Lot 1137
  • 1137

Shackleton, Ernest

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Aurora Australis. Antarctica: “Published at the Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907 During the Winter Months of April, May, June, July, 1908… Printed at the Sign of 'The Penguins'; by Joyce and Wild. Latitude 77°.. 32' South Longitude 166°.. 12' East, [1908-1909]
  • paper
FIRST EDITION, 4to (260 x 165mm.), 94 printed leaves including the coloured title-page and 11 plates, bound by Bernard Day in original venesta boards taken from expedition packing crates, backed with leather from recycled horse harnesses, title and penguin motif stamped in blind on spine, green silk binding cord, edges uncut as issued, collector’s dark blue half morocco fleece-lined folding case


Rosove 304; Spence 1095; Taurus Collection 60

Catalogue Note

A FINE COPY OF “THE MOST RENOWNED TITLE IN THE ANTARCTIC CANON” (Taurus). The book is also a celebrated rarity. According to Murray and Marston’s Antarctic Days, at most 100 copies were produced, but Rosove notes that “approximately sixty-five copies have been accounted for to date".

That such a beautiful book should be produced by amateurs, and under such testing conditions, is remarkable. Murray and Marston describe one of the main stumbling-blocks of Antarctic printing:

“It is too cold to keep the printer’s ink fluid; it gets sticky and freezes. To cope with this a candle was set burning underneath the plate on which the ink was. This was all right, but it made the ink too fluid, and the temperature had to be regulated by moving the candle about.”

Reflecting the expedition's actual provisions, the contents of the original packing crates are stencilled on the inside of the venesta covers. The upper cover has “25.1LB TINS / BRITISH”, and the lower cover includes the name of the ship and tea (“NIMRO[D]” and “TEA”).