Relics from Scott's doomed Antarctic trip on sale

Aug 25, 2010
An undated handout image made available by Christie's auctioneers and received in London shows a picture of explorer Charles Wright. Wright was studying physics at Cambridge University when he applied to join Scott's mission which followed an earlier Antarctic expedition in 1901-04.

The skis and scientific instruments of a physicist who accompanied Captain Scott on his ill-fated trip to the Antarctic will be sold in London next month, Christie's auctioneers said Wednesday.

Canadian scientist Charles Seymour Wright was part of the support team that set off with Captain Robert Falcon Scott in 1910, although he turned back after a year, leaving Scott and four others to continue to the South Pole.

Ten months later, when Scott failed to return, Wright joined the search party and it was he who spotted the tip of a green tent poking out of the ice. Inside, he found the frozen bodies of the adventurer and two of his colleagues.

Wright's sledging kit, skis, and manuscripts, as well as photographs from the ill-fated journey, were gathered together by his Canadian grandson and will be auctioned at Christie's on September 22.

They are expected to fetch between 150,000 and 250,000 pounds (230,000 to 380,000 dollars, 180,000 to 300,000 euros).

"The collection is a poignant souvenir of one of the most famous and tragic journeys in the annals of exploration," said Nicholas Lambourn, director of Exploration and Travel at the auction house.

He added: "This extraordinary collection... takes us right back on to the frozen Antarctic continent with Wright and his fellow sledgers, supporting Scott on his historic and ultimately fatal sledging journey to the South Pole in 1911-12."

Wright was studying physics at Cambridge University when he applied to join Scott's mission, which followed an earlier expedition in 1901-04. He became the team's physicist, although he was also a and navigator.

Scott made it to the South Pole on the 1912 trip, only to find that a Norwegian party had already beaten him there. He and his four colleagues turned back but all died before they could make it home.

Wright discovered the dead men's journals, photographic negatives and other relics which allowed the tragic adventurers' tale to be told.

He died in 1975 after a distinguished scientific and naval career. After his retirement to Canada, he finally made it to the in the 1960s, on a flight with the US Navy.

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