Ernest Shackleton letter sent from South Georgia in 1914, sold for £6500 at Charles Miller.

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Written in a secretarial hand over a single side of expedition stationery watermarked Air Dried Legal Vellum, counter addressed and dated South Georgia / 15.11.14, he says: “…On the eve of my departure from this sub antarctic island for the polar ice, I dictate this farewell line to once more thank you for the great assistance you have given the Expedition.”

It is signed in his own hand Est Shackleton, folded twice and contained in the original envelope with a Falkland Island stamp franked for December 14, and bears a receiving stamp for February 2 and forwarding address to the 1st Batt Royal Sussex Regt.

The recipient was Theophilus Maxwell Davies (1881- 1970) who had many interests including a passion for music and the arts and was described in a Canadian newspaper as an ‘Edwardian Dandy’.

The saleroom said: “His work as a civil engineer led to his involvement in many design projects and it is thought that this, as well as his membership of the Royal Geographical Society, could have led to Shackleton seeking his expertise.

“Although Theophilus’s exact contribution to the expedition is unclear, his family believes that he provided Shackleton with practical advice, drawing on his wealth of experience, rather than giving him financial support.”

Coinsigned via family descent, the letter was described as in “fine condition overall” and estimated at £2500-3500 at the Fulham auction on April 23. It hammered down at £6500. The saleroom said the letter “had never been spoken about in the family and therefore its discovery during lockdown came as a total surprise”.