You are currently viewing January 2022

January 2022

Object Title: Funeral banner
Object Number: 2019.48

This funeral banner is one of two that was used in the Grytviken church during funeral ceremonies.

The building was planned by Carl Anton Larsen and designed by architect Adalbert Kielland. It was prefabricated in Strømmen, Norway and then shipped to South Georgia in 1913. The church was consecrated on Christmas Day 1913, and the two church bells, cast in Tønsberg, were first rung at midnight on Christmas Eve. The church is the only building at Grytviken that is still serving its original purpose. It has undergone several restorations in recent years and houses a number of plaques and memorials relating to Sir Ernest Shackleton and others

Funerals would be conducted in the Norwegian tradition, with a funeral procession and the church bells rang while the coffin was carried to the grave. Two bearers walked ahead of the funeral procession, carrying the unfurled banners from the church to the cemetery at Grytviken.

Image of a funeral procession at Grytviken cemetery. Note the two banners held by bearers at the front


Today only one banner remains. The banner is wooden and 196cm in length. It has an ornate craved top and two long fabric stripes that are made of fine cotton, dyed black but now faded to an olive green in places.


Close up of the top of the funeral banner


Close up of the black fabric of the funeral banner


It is significant in that it was used at the burial service for Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s coffin lays in the Grytviken church. Note the two funeral banners sit to the right


The funeral procession leaves the Grytviken church with the coffin of Sir Ernest Shackleton