|Crew of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition wearing |
Fair Isles knitwear. Source: Images for All
I got quite excited when I came across this image from the 1902 - 1904 Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. The Fair Isles pullovers worn by the three men look amazing. They were supplied by the Paisley firm of J & P Coats Ltd, the main financial backers of the expedition. The company also supplied the expedition crew with Fair Isles caps and mufflers. The black and white image gives a hint of the rich variations in design described by Pirie, Mossman & Brown (1906) as extraordinary and meaningless.
"Fair Isle jerseys were universally worn, of which, by the generosity of Mr James Coats jun., we had a large supply on board. They are thick jerseys, handknitted in wool of every brilliant hue, red, green, and yellow side by side in endless, different, and all extraordinary and apparently meaningless designs. We also had caps and mufflers of the same material and make, and all proved of wonderful wearing quality."
Pirie, Mossman & Brown (1906)
Christine Arnold (2004) notes that the crew all seemed to wear garments with high necks, a design that would have necessitated the customary shoulder fastening of a fisherman's jersey to allow a snug fit.
Pirie, J.H., Mossman, R.C., and Brown, R.N. (1906) The Voyage of the Scotia. Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons.