Captain Scott: South for Science, National Museum Wales | Visual arts reviews, news & interviews
Captain Scott: South for Science, National Museum Wales
Centenary exhibition highlights the Welsh flavour to Captain Scott's Terra Nova expedition
Should you find yourself in Rhossili, it’s worth visiting the church where a plaque pays tribute to the forgotten fifth man who went to the Pole 100 years ago. Rather closer to the National Museum there is another permanent memorial to Scott’s Welsh connection. It's next door in the city hall, in fact, in Cathays Park, that impressive set of municipal buildings which testify to Victorian confidence in Wales. Halfway up the stairs on the left is a commemorative tablet which was hastily commissioned soon after the Terra Nova docked. The central panel is a portrait of Scott (pictured), but around him are bas reliefs familiar from Antarctic literature: a flag flying at the Pole, the cross over the cairn under which his companion buried Scott, Wilson and Bowers. The then mayor supplies one of the names carved into the monument alongside that of the aforesaid “Dan Radcliffe JP, Hon Treasurer” and the sculptor W. Wheatley-Wagstaff.
At the bottom, rather like a predella panel on an Renaissance altarpiece, is an image of huskies in harness gathered in front of a sledge - rather more peacefully than they ever did on the expedition itself. They are flanked on one side by a seal, on the other by a penguin, perhaps the Welshest thing of all on the southern continent. It has never been finally established, but there must have been a Welshman on the first ever trip to sail among these strange flightless birds. Penguin can also be written pen gwyn, which is Welsh for “white head”.
- Captain Scott: South for Science at National Museum Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff until 13 May
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more Visual arts
A welcome but difficult survey of the influential French avant-garde filmmaker
In a beautiful and cultured city, 20th-century music and art shine (Glass excepted)
A shortlist harking back to pre-digital image-making, and with one clear winner
An irrepressible joy touched by pathos in the French modernist's late works
Two women who were associated with the Viennese Actionists and who should be better known
An artist who astonished with the visceral intensity of his paintings, but who came to see himself as an outsider
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions
An exhibition of painting that has no set agenda, no dogma, and is full of bold gestures
A joyous celebration of ad hoc creativity fills the Duveen Galleries
A ham-fisted attempt to summon up memories of the Holocaust by the Polish artist
Contemporary artists respond to the idea of the monument in remembrance of two world wars
The unrestrained creations of a neo-classicist described as both a genius and preposterous