George Marston collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence relating to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton) and material relating to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton).

Administrative / Biographical History

George Edward Marston was born on 19 March 1882 at Southsea. He studied art at Putney School of Art and Regent Street Polytechnic and qualified as a teacher. He was appointed official artist on the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton), participating in several sledging journeys including an ascent of Mount Erebus. He was responsible for illustrating Aurora Australis, a limited edition book produced at Cape Royds, and provided sketches and paintings for The Heart of the Antarctic, Shackleton's account of the expedition.

He returned to the Antarctic as artist with the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton). After Endurance was crushed in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, the crew lived for six months on drifting ice until this broke up north-east of the Antarctic Peninsula. Proceeding in three open boats, the party of twenty-eight men reached Elephant Island on 15 April 1916. Marston made paintings and drawings of life on the pack ice and on Elephant Island before the party was rescued on 30 August 1916.

On his return to Britain, he taught at Bedales School, and in 1925, was appointed Handicrafts Adviser at the Rural Industries Bureau, advancing to director in 1934. He died in office in 1940.

Published work, Antarctic days; sketches of the homely side of polar life by two of Shackleton's men... by James Murray and George Marston, Andrew Melrose London (1913) SPRI Library Shelf Special Collection (Ʀ7)91(08)[1907-1909]


The collection is split into two sub-fonds comprising of expedition material and correspondence respectively.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events , (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034 and 'George Marston' by Stephen Locke in The Polar Record (January 1997) volume 33 number 184 p65-70 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley ' Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7)

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.

Related Material

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, some of which covers the expedition's Marston took part in. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.