Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Christie's Exploration and Travel with the Polar Sale Lot 55: Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Lot 55: Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker includes five signed letters from Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker to Dr. James Croll and a photograph signed by Hooker. These letters date from November 25, 1883 to April 6, 1884. The letters is a part of series of questions and answers that begin with Hooker commenting on articles written by Croll.
The letters are an interesting capture of correspondence about Antarctica when the knowledge of the continent was still very minimal. This includes Hooker mentioning that they cannot even really call it a continent because as to their current knowledge they had only encountered the ice sheets and small islands. Hooker's comments were drawn from his personal experience in the Antarctic as a botanist on Sir James Clark Ross's Erebus expedition of 1839-1843.
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker is not exactly a key figure in Antarctic history, but the expedition he was on was. The Erebus expedition is credited with being the first expedition to really prove the Southern continent existed and chart part of the coastline.
This lot is being auction off on September 22, 2010 as part of Christie's Exploration and Travel with the Polar Sale. The estimated value is £2,500 - £3,500 ($3,875 - $5,425).