The Endurance

I’ve always had a deep fascination with polar exploration, so it was a particular thrill to recreate Shackleton’s Endurance for my exhibition at the Centre for Life. This scene is based on a famous photograph by the exhibition photographer Frank Hurley, taken at night with the ship covered in ice and frost (hence the all-white model).

The ship is stuck in pack ice off the coast of Antarctica in 1915. It would not be released, and was eventually crushed and sank. The story of the survival and eventual rescue of all expedition members is one of the most remarkable in exploration.

The model measures 180cm long and uses nearly 10,000 pieces. String is used for the ropes but all other parts are official LEGO. Working almost entirely in one colour was a first for me for a model of this size, but I love the clean look. Only the seals at the front and the penguins at the rear add any colour!

A particular challenge with this LEGO model was sourcing plans or photographs to enable an accurate recreation. As the ship is in pieces at the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean, there’s nothing is existence to base it on. Other models exist, but all seemed to vary from each other! The ship itself evolved over time too – there would have been no housing for the dog teams on the deck when it was first constructed for example. I have done the best I can from the photographs that do exist!