British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1912 and Herbert Ponting, At the South Pole

At the South Pole, January 18 1912

From: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1912 and From: Herbert Ponting

RA Collection: Art

This photograph shows Captain Robert Scott and his team on the day after they reached the South Pole. After a two-year expedition, they were beaten in the race to the South Pole by the Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen. Coming second to their rivals was a huge blow to Scott and his team, and the disappointment and hardship of the journey can be seen in the men's dejected expressions and their weather-beaten faces.

Scott and his team left the South Pole and began the 862-mile journey back by foot on 19 January, the day after this photo was taken. Two of the men died from the conditions en route before Scott and his remaining two companions made camp for the last time, just 20 miles from safety. They died at the end of March 1912.

The film for this photo was found eight months later, in November 1912, in the campsite that was the men's final resting place, alongside the bodies and belongings of the explorers.

Scott's expedition to Antarctica had been organised from the University Buildings of Burlington House (6 Burlington Gardens, which the Royal Academy now occupies) through Lord Esher, Secretary to His Majesty's Office of Works.

The men in the photo are (standing, left to right): Captain Lawrence Oates, Captain Robert Scott, Petty Officer Edgar Evans; and (sitting, left to right): Lieutenant Henry Bowers, Dr Edward Wilson.

Object details

At the South Pole
Photographed by
January 18 1912
Object type
Place of Publication
United Kingdom

313 mm x 411 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number

Associated works of art

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