Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922)
A Scandinavian walnut easy armchair, rectangular back, arm-pads and over-stuffed seat covered in flame-stitch cotton, the back with scroll cresting, orb finials and entablature incised with scrolling foliage, the arms carved with lapping coins on baluster supports, on mushroom-topped turned baluster legs with brass castors.
Second half 19th-century, 44in. (112cm.) high.
Provenance: The manager's office, Stromness, South Georgia; a gift to Shackleton's grandson.
Shackleton, Worsley and Crean walked into the whaling station at Stromness at 4p.m. on 20 May 1916. They were so filthly they were unrecogniseable. Shackleton approached Mathias Andersen, the station foreman at Stromness, and asked for Anton Andersen, but was told that Thoralf Sorlle had taken over. (Shackleton describes what followed:) '"We would like to see him," said I. "Who are you?" he asked. "We have lost our ship and come over the island," I replied. "You have come over the island?" he said in a tone of entire disbelief. The man went towards the manager's house and we followed him. I learned afterwards that he said to Mr.Sorlle: "There are three funny-looking men outside, who say they have come over the island and they know you. I have left them outside." A very necessary precaution from his point of view. Mr. Sorlle came out of the door and said, "Well?" "Don't you know me?" I said. "I know your voice," he replied doubtfully. "You're the mate of the Daisy." "My name is Shackleton," I said. Immediately he put out his hand and said, "Come in. Come in." (South 1998, p.208).
The present chair was part of what greeted Shackleton and his companions in Sorlle's office: the first sign of the civilised world that they had been forced to abandon with the sinking of the Endurance in November 1915.