Music for polar explorers

In 1875 Sir John Strong Nares was sent to attempt to reach the North Pole. Scurvy, lack of equipment and bitter arctic weather conditions all forced Nares to abandon the expedition. “Of all the melancholy and mournful duties I have ever been called upon to perform, this has been the saddest”, proclaimed Nares following the death of crewman Porter.  Even though they failed in their mission, the struggles of the crew were widely celebrated and these waltzes were one of the musical pieces produced to honour them.

If you love music and would like to see more images from the Library’s collections dating back hundreds of years and up to the present day, visit the music department blog at this link:


Extended captions