Matthew is used to handling extraordinary items. On the Antiques Roadshow some of the most memorable items he has dealt with include a notebook written by William Shakespeare, and a letter from Lord Nelson discussing a sheep that was present at the Battle of Trafalgar and went on to win medals!
When he worked in Bonhams New York office he created a series of Space History auctions starting with one marking the 40th Anniversary of man's first steps on the Moon. He has also sold Jacqueline Kennedy's love letters to David Ormsby Gore and a sledge from Ernest Shackleton's 1909 Nimrod expedition.
Matthew’s knowledge of and interest in Antarctic items has grown in recent years – mainly through handling lots in Bonham’s regular Travel & Exploration auctions.
“I did not have a particular interest in Antarctica before I started handling polar material at Bonhams,” he told us “but inevitably my interest has grown as I spend ever more time with these relics. Photography is an interest of mine, so I love the images of Herbert Ponting and Frank Hurley, but I also like researching the artefacts and their provenance - how many sledges went on the trek to the Pole in 1909, is it possible that this sledge in front of me was one of them, and so on. On a side-note, Harry Pennell, Commander of the Terra Nova, is an ancestor of mine.”
Some of Matthew’s all-time favourite items he has handled are Apsley Cherry-Garrard's lambskin mittens (sold for £7,500), the spectacular and rare photograph by Hurley entitled "A Cavern beneath the Coastal Ice Cliffs" (sold for £23,750), and of course Eric Marshall's sledge and flag from the Nimrod Expedition, now in the National Maritime Museum (sold for £204,700).