Exhibitor's Gallery

Bernard Quaritch Ltd

The heart of the Antarctic. Being the
story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–1909 . . . With an introduction by
Hugh Robert Mill and an account of the first journey to the South Magnetic
Pole by Professor T. W. Edgeworth David.


SHACKLETON, Sir Ernest Henry.

The heart of the Antarctic. Being the story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–1909 . . . With an introduction by Hugh Robert Mill and an account of the first journey to the South Magnetic Pole by Professor T. W. Edgeworth David. London, Ballantyne & Co. Limited for William Heinemann 1909


4to (268 x 223mm), 3 volumes, including The Antarctic Book. Winter Quarters 1907-1909, comprising volumes I-II (The Heart of the Antarctic): pp. I: xlviii, 372; II: xv, [1 (note)], 419, [1 (blank)]; 2 mounted photographic frontispieces from photographs with printed tissue guards, that of Shackleton inscribed beneath his portrait ‘Yours sincerely / Ernest Shackleton / Oct. 1911’, 12 mounted colour-printed plates with printed tissue guards, and 200 monochrome plates, including 4 double-page; 3 folding colour-printed maps after Douglas Mawson, Eric Marshall, et al., and one folding panorama loose as issued in a pocket on the lower pastedown of vol. II; illustrations, diagrams and plans, some full-page, titles printed in ochre and black and with woodcut publisher's devices; original full vellum, upper boards blocked in gilt with 'At the Sign of the Penguins' device, spines lettered and ruled in gilt, top edges gilt, others uncut, brown silk markers; and volume III (The Antarctic Book): pp. 54, [2 (imprint, verso blank)], bifolium with woodcut heading 'THE BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1907 1909' on two pages above the signatures of 15 members of the Shore Party and Mackintosh, 4 colour-printed portraits of members of the Southern Party after George Marston mounted on thick grey paper, and 6 etchings after Marston; woodcut initials and 'At the Sign of the Penguins' device printed in ochre, title with woodcut publisher's devices; original vellum-backed boards, spine titled in gilt, top edges gilt, others uncut; some light offsetting and light marginal browning and occasional marginal marking or short tears, scattered light spotting in III, loose panorama slightly chipped at edges, some light marking on boards, II with skilfull repairs on map-pocket and hinges, III lightly rubbed at corners and with the usual offsetting onto free endpapers, nonetheless a very good, clean set. [With:] E.H. SHACKLETON. Autograph letter signed (‘Ernest Shackleton’) presenting this set to Albu, Marlborough Club, Pall Mall, 2 October 1911. 2pp. on a bifolium with printed address, folded for posting, autograph envelope fixed onto the front free endpaper of I with adhesive tape.


Leopold Albu (1861-1938, letter from Shackleton and presentation inscription).


Conrad p. 148; Rosove 305.A2; Spence 1096; Taurus 57 ('the most luxurious publication to have appeared during the "heroic age" of Antarctic exploration, recording the exploits of the one British expedition to have been crowned with popular success, and signed by all members of the shore party').


First edition, de luxe issue, no. 5 of 300 sets, including the first and only edition of the Antarctic Book, with a letter from Shackleton presenting the set. 'The three-volume special edition [of The Heart of the Antarctic] is one of the most handsome productions in the Antarctic canon. Nothing was spared by the publisher and printer to style the volumes as beautifully as possible. The work is sumptuously bound in vellum, in large quarto format with broad margins around the typeset, and printed on thick, high-quality, deckle-edges paper specially watermarked "1907 BAE 1909". The full-page photographic plates are outstanding [...] Marston's watercolors are vibrantly reproduced, each mounted on a sheet of thick, brown paper with a titled tissue guard. The Antarctic Book possesses the coup – a double page signed by all members of the shore party' (Rosove). The signatures comprise those of the fifteen who had wintered at Cape Royd, together with that of Aeneas Mackintosh: 'After Mackintosh lost his right eye in an accident on board the Nimrod on 31 January 1908, which necessarily excluded him from consideration of inclusion in the shore party, he went back to New Zealand. The next season, he returned to the Antarctic and became a member of the Bluff depot party. Shackleton trusted him and likely included him in the book signing to honor him. Shackleton later put Mackintosh in charge of the Ross Sea shore party during the 1914-17 expedition' (Rosove). The Antarctic Book contains Shackleton's poem 'Erebus' and Douglas Mawson's 'Bathybia' (both extracted from Aurora Australis) and is illustrated with four portraits of members of the Southern Party – Ernest Shackleton, Jameson Boyd Adams, Eric Marshall, and Frank Wild – and six etchings after Marston; of these six, three were included in Aurora Australis, two were created for The Antarctic Book ('Mount Erebus in Eruption' and 'Giant Toadstool'), and the portrait of Frank Wild was first published here. The volume is known in two states; Shackleton's poem 'Erebus' was typeset from Aurora Australis and, due to the running head 'Aurora Australis', it was set as two separate poems in one state of The Antarctic Book, an error which was then rectified by the re-setting and cancellation of quire d (as here).

This set was presented by Shackleton to Leopold Albu, and it retains the author’s covering letter sending the book with the hope that ‘you will like it’, thanking Albu for an enjoyable evening, and conveying his ‘kindest regards to Mrs Albu’. Leopold Albu and his older brother George (1857-1935), were born in Berlin to a Jewish coach builder and had emigrated to South Africa in 1876, where they founded the General Mining and Finance Corporation. Both brothers were Directors and Managing Directors of the company, and George, who remained in South Africa, was also Chairman of it. Leopold, who was resident in London, oversaw the company’s interests in Britain and had married Adelaide Burton on 19 August 1901, living first at 27 Park Lane and then moving to the adjacent 4 Hamilton Place once it had been remodelled for him. Leopold and his wife became well-known society figures and collectors of art, acquiring silver, porcelain, old master paintings, and works by contemporaries such as Waterhouse and Leighton, and patronising Hubert von Herkomer, whose portrait ‘Mrs Leopold Albu’ was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1906. On 16 June 1909, two days after his return to England, Shackleton was the guest of honour at a dinner for 500 at 18 Park Lane hosted by Mrs Eckstein, the wife of the de Beers magnate and Randlord Frederick Eckstein, and it seems likely that Shackleton met Albu through Eckstein (cf. R. Huntford, Shackleton (London: 2005), p. 294).

The Heart of the Antarctic was published in autumn 1909, and Shackleton spent the last months of 1909 and most of 1910 travelling abroad and lecturing; presumably for this reason, we have not been able to trace any sets inscribed in either 1909 or 1910 on the market or in institutional collections. The earliest inscribed sets that we can trace in Anglo-American auction records bear inscriptions dated 1911, and therefore this presentation set predates most of those which have appeared on the market.