Unveiled recently at the successful Redcar Art Fair “Decision” by Philip J. Boville,
acrylic on canvas 150 x 100 cm
Telling the story of Earnest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition 1915-16.
Following the destruction of their ship Endurance, Shackleton and his men dragged three lifeboats for 24-hours over unstable pack-ice surrounding their ship to find ice more suitable for making camp. With Shackleton’s mind made up the ships carpenter is unsure but Shackleton’s decision that day paved the way in saving his entire crew of 28 men.
After their ship Endurance became fast in the ice of the Antarctic Shackleton and his men settled down, turning an expedition of discovery into one of survival. During the early days, the men attempted to free the ship by hand, hacking and prising the ice from the ship’s hull. However, it soon became clear it was pointless as the ice failed to yield its destructive grip. Taking navigational readings Shackleton realised there were on a giant floating ice field stretching to the fare horizon and that ice field was slowly shifting. All they had to do was sit it out, using the ship as base camp and stay worm and be sensible with the food rations.
For Shackleton, his problem was keeping his men occupied, motivated and giving them assurance that they all would return home safe. After a few months on the Endurance the sound of breaking timbers ripped through the ship like thunder and with every sound came a shudder as the Endurance surrendered to the relentless pressure of the crushing ice. Shackleton gave the order to abandon their ship and take all stores including two lifeboats and later returning for the third.
18 months alone on the Antarctic ice, it’s an epic story and one very well worth reading about.