Amazing and extremely rare vintage matte-finish 9.75 x 8 photo of an oddly-shaped ‘blueberg’ photographed by the Captain of the S. S. Etonian, two days before it struck the Titanic. Photo shows a massive iceberg with a very odd elliptical shape, and is captioned in black ink in an unknown hand, possibly the captain, “Blueberg taken by Captain Good S. S. Etonian on 12/4/12 in Lat 41° 50 W Long 49° 50 N. Titanic struck 14/4/12 and sank in three hours.” Also labeled above the caption, “Copyright.” Photo is affixed to a 13 x 11 mount. Some light contrast to portion of caption, scattered silvering and brushing, visible only at an angle, and some light dampstaining to mount, otherwise fine condition.
Unfortunately, there is no surviving photograph of the iceberg taken from Titanic’s deck that night. Several photographs of icebergs in Titanic’s vicinity taken before and after the collision have been offered throughout the years as candidates for the iceberg which sunk the ship.
Frederick Fleet, the lookout on duty who first spotted the iceberg, and Joseph Scarrott, an able-bodied seaman, each drew sketches of the iceberg which appear eerily similar to the iceberg in this photo. Their drawings are reproduced on pages 140-141 of Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, Second Edition, by John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas (W.W. Norton & Company, 1995). A “Blueberg” as indicated in the caption simply refers to the tinting of the iceberg from the sun’s rays, much like the “blue” ocean. The fact that this iceberg is known to have been photographed just two days before Titanic’s sinking at a position arguably 2-3 days iceberg travel time to Titanic’s foundering position, and that it substantially matches the images drawn by Titanic’s lookout and crewman, this photograph may well picture the iceberg everyone has been talking about for the past 100 years.
Provenance: The Wonders Exhibition, 1997-98 Memphis, TN - St. Petersburg, FL; p.115 Titanic: The Exhibition (Lithograph Publishing Company, 1997).