The first edition of The Polar Book by Louis Charles Bernacchi, estimated at £600-800 at Bonhams.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The Polar Book by Louis Charles Bernacchi and others was published in conjunction with the British Polar Exhibition of 1930. Bernacchi was a major figure in this pioneering show, acting as organising director, and providing the foreword to the book.

He had gone with Borchgrevink on the Southern Cross expedition (1898-1900), and returned to the South Pole as physicist for Captain Scott’s British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-04). He was greatly admired by Scott, who acted as best man at his wedding in 1906.

The book comprised a series of essays and was intended to raise funds for the recently founded Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge

This first edition (E Allom & Co, 1930), in publisher’s pictorial wrappers, 8vo, features maps of the north and south Polar regions printed on one large folding sheet. It has light spotting to opening leaves and edges of the text block.

It was owned by Bernacchi himself, with his ownership inscription L.C. Bernacchi, physician to Capt. Scott’s ‘Discovery’ 1901-4 in pencil on the title-page. Estimate £600-800.


A first edition copy of his With the ‘Aurora’ in the Antarctic 1911-1914, estimated at £500-700 at Bonhams.

John King Davis was captain of the Aurora which supported Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1911-14. He had previously served with Shackleton on Nimrod 1907-09, Shackleton again in 1916-17, and later with the BANZARE (British Australian [and] New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition) expeditions in 1929-30.

A first edition copy of his With the ‘Aurora’ in the Antarctic 1911-1914, half-title, title printed in red and black, frontispiece, is guided at £500-700.

In publisher’s blue pictorial cloth gilt, the book, 8vo, Andrew Melrose, 1919, includes 40 photographic plates, eight maps and plates (one folding printed in colours), with 70 illustrations in text.