Shannon, Charles Haslewood

Shannon, Charles Haslewood  RA. (1863 – 1937)

The work of Charles Haslewood Shannon (the middle name sometimes spelt Hazelwood)  is held in major public collections in Britain, Europe, and the USA including the London Tate Gallery. He was included in the seminal Tate Gallery exhibition ‘Symbolism in Britain 1860 – 1910’. His art can be associated with Late Pre-Raphaelitism, Symbolism, and the Aesthetic Movement. Together with his life long partner the artist Charles Ricketts, he published an influential arts periodical ‘The Dial’ (1889 – 1897) and founded The Vale Press which specialised in illustrated books of fine quality. The two were also responsible for creating one of the best known illustrated books of the late 19th century, ‘Daphnis and Chloe’ (1893). Particularly admiring of Titian and showing an influence of Rossetti, Shannon produced some sumptuous oil paintings.

He is though particularly known as one of the finest lithographic artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In some of the lithographs there can also be seen the influence of the great French Symbolist Puvis de Chavannes. Shannon had several themes that he favoured, for instance figures on the sea shore, the bath house, swimmers, females preparing themselves for the day. Male and female nudes often feature, as does the element of water. Examples of these themes can be seen on this website. In his lithographs Shannon would often print different coloured versions of the same image. As well as the use of black ink, he favoured red/brown and dark green. His subject matter and treatment is often romantic, enigmatic, clearly in the tradition of the Symbolists. He produced 109 lithographs and all of them can be viewed in the Print Room at the British Museum. The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and the University of Texas are also amongst those outside the UK with fine collections of the artist’s lithographic work.