A painting depicting Captain Scott’s ship, the SS Terra Nova, leaving Cardiff Docks on its ill-fated Antarctic Expedition in 1910 has been bought at auction by The Cardiff Story museum.
The painting, by Richard Short, an accomplished painter who settled in Cardiff after retiring from life as a Master Mariner, was bought for £13,000 at an auction at Bonhams, London on Friday.
Cardiff council contributed £5,000 towards the purchase, with the remainder of the funding coming from the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and the V&A Purchase Fund.
Scott named Cardiff as the Terra Nova’s home port in recognition of the support the expedition had received from Wales, and Cardiff in particular. Two leading Cardiff shipowners, Daniel Radcliffe and William J Tatem, became two of the expedition’s most fervent supporters.
Scott and his companions were beaten to the South Pole by Norwegian Roald Amundsen and five of the expedition members, including Scott, died from starvation and the extreme temperatures.
The painting was commissioned by Alderman W H Renwick and W H Newtown to mark the city’s pride in playing such a key role in the expedition and the money required for commissioning it was raised from public subscription.
Hanging in the library of the Coal Exchange building in the docks, when news reached Britain of Scott’s death in February 1913, the Union Jack and black crepe were draped around it.
Cardiff Story museum officer Victoria Rogers said: “We’re delighted to have secured this stunning painting for the museum and the people of Cardiff.
“The tragedy of the expedition had a profound effect on the city, which had taken Scott and his companions to its heart, and this painting is the perfect piece to commemorate the expedition and to help tell the story to our visitors.
“Items like this don’t come up at auction very often, so we’re very thankful to Cardiff Council, UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and the V&A Purchase Fund for their support in securing the painting for generations of Cardiffians to come.”