The artist exhibited at Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham, in 1903, where his address was given at Penzance, Cornwall. At the time of the present portrait, a label on the reverse of the stretcher records Kronstrand at 2 St. Leonards Studios, St. Leonards Terrace (Polegate).
This fine portrait, perhaps the only painted portrait of the sitter which manages to capture his determined character and charisma, dates to the eve of the departure of Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition (Nimrod) of 1907-9. There are few extant portraits in oils of Shackleton and no others from the middle of his career. Four other known oils date to 1921 or thereabouts: two portraits by Reginald G. Eves (both 1921) are in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery and National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, a small late portrait hangs in the library of the Royal Geographic Society, and a portrait by Charles Buchal, dated 1921, is in a private collection.
Most of the decorations worn here date to after the Nimrod expedition; for example the Orders of Dannebrog of Denmark (1909), St. Olaf of Norway (1909), St. Anne of Russia (1910) and the Legion of Honour (France, 1909), in addition to the Royal Victorian Order (1907) and Polar Medal, which suggests they were added (by the artist?) after Shackleton's return from the expedition.