London: 1917. The salver was presented as a wedding gift to Royal Navy officer CHARLES ROYDS (1876-1931), the Discovery's first lieutenant after whom Cape Royds in Antarctica is named. The salver has specially crafted feet, fashioned after penguin's feet.
The Discovery expedition was the first led by Captain Robert Scott and was arranged by the Joint Antarctic Committee composed of members from the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society. Known as the British National Antarctic Expedition, the goal of the expedition was the scientific exploration of South Victoria Land and the ice barrier as well as the interior of the Antarctic continent. Its achievements included the discovery of the polar plateau and Scott’s ascent, the first ever, in a hot air balloon over Antarctica. It was also the first to do extensive land exploration on the continent and went the furthest south by a sledge reaching 82 16' S. One of the unexpected contributions was the introduction to the Antarctic of so many future explorers, as it included Ernest Shackleton, Frank Wild & Edgar & Edward Evans. Scott returned to Antarctica a second time aboard the Terra Nova. That expedition, which commenced in 1910, developed into a race against the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen to become the first to reach the South Pole. Amundsen attained the goal on January 4, 1912, beating Scott by two weeks. Scott’s expedition ended tragically when he and four companions perished on their return march from the South Pole after failing to reach a supply depot.
Royd's had a very distinguished list of Antarcticans attending his wedding. But there are a number of ghostly presences that might have been there. Both Scott and Edward Wilson died in 1911 in their attempt to be the first to the South Pole. Ernest Shackleton was on duty in Northern Russia, as was Frank Wild. These two were to return to the Antarctic in the Shackleton's Endurance expedition, which is one of the greatest stories of survival ever told. Dr. Koettlitz died in 1916.
The silver salver was made by Goldsmiths & Silversmith's Co., Regent St., London in 1917. It has a scalloped rope edge and four ball and claw feet is inscribed with the seal of the Discovery Voyage depicting icebergs and a penguin encircled within a heraldic belt. Below the seal is the engraved inscription “To Captain C.W. Royds R.N. on his marriage October 5th 1918 from his old messmates in the ‘Discovery’ 1901-1904.”
Surrounding the inscription are the engraved signatures of:
Scottish Royal Navy captain ALBERT B. ARMITAGE (1864-1943; "Albert B. Armitage"), was the Discovery's second-in-command. "Armitage had been second in command of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition to Spitsbergen. In recognition of this, he received the Murchison award from the R[oyal] G[eographical] S[ociety]. Armitage was the oldest man in the expedition, and his years of Arctic service gave him more such experience than anyone else on the Discovery except Koettlitz… The contrasts between Armitage and Scott were noteworthy. Armitage had a good deal of experience with ships under sail; Scott did not. Armitage had three years of polar work; Scott had none," (Scott of the Antarctic, Huxley). Cape Armitage, the southernmost point on Ross Island, is named in his honor.
LOUIS BERNACCHI (1876-1942; "L. C. Bernacchi") was a Tasmanian physicist and astronomer of Italian extraction. His first polar journey was with Carsten Borchgrevink's Southern Cross expedition (1898-1901), along with Hodgson (above). For his work on the Discovery voyage, Bernacchi was decorated by the Royal Geographical Society and awarded the Légion d'honneur. Scott was the best man at his wedding. Bernacchi explored regions of Africa and South America, wrote several books on the Antarctic, was a member of the Royal Geographic Society, and served in the British and United States military during World War I. His attempts to raise funds for a 1925 Antarctic expedition failed. Antarctica's Bernacchi Head and Bay honor his name.
MICHAEL BARNE (1877-1961; “Michael Barne”). Barne’s responsibilities as a member of Scott’s Discovery expedition was to keep records of the voyage. A recipient of the Polar Medal, Barne “had been a shipmate of Scott on the Majestic… [and] was appointed second officer by the committee in June 1900. His duties including assisting Armitage with magnetic studies and taking charge of deep-sea temperature research,” (Pilgrims on the Ice: Robert Falcon Scott’s first Antarctic Expedition, Baughman). An Antarctic cape, glacier and inlet are named after him.
GEORGE FRANCIS ARTHUR MULOCK (1882-1963; “George F.A. Mulock”). Mulock had joined the relief vessel Morning that resupplied Scott’s ships in the Antarctic. In 1902, he came aboard the Discovery to replace Ernest Shackleton who had fallen ill. Mulock served as a surveyor and cartographer during the mission, publishing his results as Survey Work of the National Antarctic, 1901–04, for which he was awarded the Polar Medal. He had a distinguished career in both World War I and II, during which time he was held captive by the Japanese. The Mulock Inlet and Glacier are named in his honor.
Marine biologist THOMAS VERE HODGSON (1864-1926; “T.V. Hodgson”) did pioneering work aboard the Discovery and was the first person to describe the Antarctic’s deep sea floor. Prior to joining the Discovery, he had been a member of Carsten Borchgrevink’s Southern Cross expedition (1898-1901). Cape Hodgson in the Ross Archipelago is named after him.
Royal Navy officer REGINALD W. SKELTON (1872–1956; “Reginald W. Skelton”) was the Discovery’s chief engineer and official photographer. Despite the long-standing friendship between Scott and Skelton, he was passed over as second-in-command on Scott’s fatal 1910 Terra Nova expedition. An Antarctic inlet and three glaciers are named in his honor.
CYRIL LONGHURST (“Cyril Longhurst”) was the secretary of the Discovery expedition and served as best man at Shackleton’s wedding. Mount Cyril in Antarctica is named after him.
HARTLEY TRAVERS FERRAR (1879-1932; “H.T. Ferrar”) was born in Ireland, raised in South Africa and educated as a geologist in England. A relatively young and inexperienced member of the voyage, Ferrar met the woman he would marry while the Discovery was docked in New Zealand. His expedition duties included making geological surveys, classifying what became known as the Ferrar or Beacon sandstone layer and discovering the first Antarctic fossils. He later conducted geological research in Egypt, Palestine and New Zealand. The Ferrar Glacier is named for him.
Following the Discovery expedition, Royds continued his career in the Royal Navy. While commanding the battleship HMS Emperor of India, he was given our lovely sterling silver platter to honor his marriage to Mary Louisa Blane, a widow and retired actress. After the war, Royds was an instructor at the Admiralty, retiring from the navy as a rear-admiral. Thereafter, he enjoyed a second career as deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for which he received a knighthood.
A unique object. Professionally polished and in fine condition save a few very faint scuffs. Very good condition. Item #22798