“A very Gallant Gentleman”

Object reference: RA 0010

Materials: paper, glass, wood

Lawrence Oates was one of the four Britons who reached the South Pole with Robert Falcon Scott in January 1912, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had been there before them. On the way back, everyone died. According to Scott’s diary, Oates died March 16, 1912. Supposedly, he said this to the others in the tent: “I am just going outside and may be some time.” Then he left the tent and went out into the storm, never to be seen again.

This is a reproduction of John Charles Dollman’s painting from 1913, and shows Oates as he leaves the tent. Under the motif is written “he walked willingly to his death in a blizzard, to try and save his comrades, possessed by hardships”. It used to hang in the living room at Amundsen’s home, but has been moved to the blue living room, sometime around 1928.

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