1914 - 1917

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–17), also known as the Endurance Expedition, is considered the last major expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Conceived by Sir Ernest Shackleton, the expedition was an attempt to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent. After the conquest of the South Pole by Roald Amundsen in 1911, this crossing from sea to sea remained, in Shackleton's words, the "one great main object of Antarctic journeyings". The expedition failed to accomplish this objective, but became recognised instead as an epic feat of endurance.

Shackleton had served in the Antarctic on Captain Scott's Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and had led the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907–09. In this new expedition he proposed to sail to the Weddell Sea and to land a shore party near Vahsel Bay, in preparation for a transcontinental march through the South Pole to the Ross Sea. A supporting group, the Ross Sea party, would meanwhile travel to the opposite side of the continent, establish camp in McMurdo Sound, and from there lay a series of supply depots across the Ross Ice Shelf to the foot of the Beardmore Glacier.

Endurance became beset in the ice of the Weddell Sea before reaching Vahsel Bay, and despite efforts to free it, drifted northward, held in the pack ice, throughout the Antarctic winter of 1915.

Eventually the ship was crushed and sank, stranding its 28-man complement on the ice.

After months spent in makeshift camps as the ice continued its northwards drift, the party took to the lifeboats to reach the inhospitable, uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton and five others then made an 800-mile (1,287 km) open-boat journey in the James Caird to reach South Georgia using a Thomas Mercer chronometer.

From there, Shackleton was eventually able to mount a rescue of the men waiting on Elephant Island and bring them home without loss of life.

Here is a video I made in tribute to Sir Ernest Shackleton, and for the Centenary of the Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition. Frank Hurley's footage presented in a very unique way.  With Sound !

VASSdesign related Art



Commemorating Sir Ernest Shackleton's Epic Expedition of 1914. Image of the Endurance has been digitally remastered. Part of the 'Age of Exploration' collection.

Sir Ernest Shackleton's Epic Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914. Image based on a scene from the 2002 Shackleton mini series.


  by VASSdesign

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"MEN WANTED" by VASSdesign

Once believed to have been an ad placed by Ernest Shackleton to recruit men for his Endurance expedition (ITAE). The ad has since been proven to be a myth.

However, this did not stop this advertisement from becoming one of the most famous in history, and forever linked to Shackleton's epic expedition.

"Men Wanted" is one of our most requested artwork.


Currently this sign is being sold onboard Quark Expedition vessels on Antarctic voyages.

To read more about this, visit the "Involvement" page of this site.

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"THE ICE FLOE" by VASSdesign

Remastered reproduction concept sign of Frank Hurley's photograph of Ernest Shackleton's ship, Endurance, stuck in an ice floe while crewmen played football alongside. A timeless classic presented with a vintage frame and finish.


Original design concept based on a former whaling station on the northern coast of South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic from 1912 until 1931. It was the destination of Ernest Shackleton's rescue journey in 1916. Completely hand painted.

For more Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition art, be sure to visit the "Voyage of the James Caird" section, and "Shackleton's Ross Sea Party" section of this web site.

More to come!!