Platinum Print

4. The Endurance beset by pack ice during the Polar Night
A special opportunity to purchase from a selection of Frank Hurley's astonishing photographs of the 'Endurance' expedition in the form of hand-crafted, limited edition exhibition-grade platinum prints. Each print is made to order in Belgium using the rare platinum process, where the painterly quality of the process draws out the finest detail. Read More

Key Specifications:

  • Limited edition collection of hand crafted, made-to-order platinum prints
  • Made using Frank Hurley's original glass and celluloid negatives
  • Exhibition-grade complete with certificate of provenance
  • In partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • Only available to purchase through Shackleton and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • High-quality and high-security packaging
  • Secure worldwide shipping


This side view of the Endurance, frozen in the ice of the Weddell Sea, was achieved by  Hurley using a sequence of electrical flares. Once charged and lit, Hurley captured his  remarkable photograph at some distance from the ship in the dangerous field of ‘old ice’, risking injury. As he recounted in his diary, the flare of light left Hurley temporarily blinded  amidst the ice which was hard as steel, with the dogs in their ‘dog-loos’ around the ship  breaking out in a cacophony of barking.  © Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Shackleton’s enduring legacy is due, in no small part, to his recruitment of Frank Hurley as expedition photographer. Hurley’s astonishingly clear photographs of the ‘Endurance’ expedition allow us an extraordinary sense of connection with the expedition and the crew’s journey from optimism to disaster, deprivation and redemption.

Drawn from the Royal Geographical Society's Collection of over 500,000 historic photographs, we have selected some of the earliest and most iconic exploration images taken by Frank Hurley, the official photographer and filmmaker commissioned by Sir Ernest Shackleton to document his ‘Endurance’ expedition of 1914-18, to release a limited edition collection of platinum prints.

Using the historic negatives that were saved from the sinking ship by Hurley, and carried on that remarkable journey; to the safety of Elephant Island and then following the rescue of his men by Shackleton, back to London, the original glass plate  ‘survivors’ have been been scanned by hand using the latest equipment and techniques to create the highest resolution digital negatives. This has enabled the creation of the first prints made using the negatives since they were last handled by Hurley himself in the early 1920s. 

Each print is made to order by master print-maker Georges Charlier and his team from Salto-Ulbeek in Belgium using the rare platinum process. Specially made drawing paper is coated with a light-sensitive emulsion containing platinum salts using a special brush. The paper is carefully dried and exposed to UV light through one or more full size contact negatives. This careful and laborious process means each print takes almost eight hours to complete.

When compared to conventional black and white silver prints, platinum prints exhibit an expanded tonal range, three-dimensionality, and a uniquely luminous, painterly quality which draws out the finest detail. 

Each print comes with a certificate identifying the print number in each strictly limited edition. As well as their aesthetic quality, platinum prints are among the most permanent objects produced by man, museum-grade reproductions that will not deteriorate in quality over time. The platinum metals are more stable than gold, and a platinum image is part of the fine paper on which it is printed. 

This limited collection of ‘Endurance’ platinum prints provide the collector with a unique opportunity to be a part of the centenary year in which Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship was re-discovered over 3,000 metres below the surface of the Weddell Sea.

Platinum prints are made-to-order and are therefore non-refundable, learn more here.