Keith Shackleton made multiple trips to Antarctica from 1969 working as a member of the naturalist team aboard the Lindblad Explorer, the first ice working exploration passenger vessel. Among other staff on the ship was friend, fellow artist and conservationist Sir Peter Scott (1909-1989), who wrote the foreword to Shackleton’s 1986 book, Ship in the Wilderness: Voyages of the M.S. "Lindblad Explorer" Through the Last Wild Places on Earth which recorded his experiences on these trips, as well as other voyages through the Arctic, North-West Passage, Galapagos Islands, South Atlantic and South Pacific.
The resulting paintings from his visits to the polar regions are considered among his finest, capturing the beauty and hostility of the extreme environment. In this work from 1972 it’s possible to imagine Shackleton observing the penguins playing on the iceberg from the passing Lindblad. Describing an Antarctic scene is his book Wildlife and Wilderness: An artist’s world (1986), he comments:
‘I just believe that landscape like this, savage, hostile and unremitting though it may be, by aesthetic standards, is still the most intrinsically beautiful landscape of all.’
A major retrospective of Shackleton’s polar works was held at the Scott Polar Research Institute in 2007.