Sir James Jebusa Shannon
Shannon was born in 1862 in Auburn, New York to Irish-American parents. His father was a building contractor for railroads and bridges. He lived with his family in St. Catherine’s, Ontario for a time, where he had his first art lessons from William E. Wright. In 1878, at the age of sixteen, Shannon moved to England in order to study at the National Art Training School in South Kensington (now the Royal College of Art). Here he studied under Sir Edward Poynter, regarded as the greatest academic draftsman of the day. He won notoriety early on for his portrait painting. Shannon’s first studio was on Manresa Road in Chelsea, shared with a group of young artists who together formed the Chelsea Arts Club. He was soon able to establish a private studio on Alfred Place in Kensington, and later an enormous studio and home in London. Aside from several extended painting trips to America, and yearly holidays in the Netherlands, Shannon spent his entire career living and working in England. He exhibited frequently in Europe and the United States at The Royal Academy, Grosvenor Gallery, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Paris Salon, the Venice Biennale, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Brooklyn Art Association. Shannon was a founding member of the New English Art Club in 1886, a member of the Royal Academy, and preside of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters from 1910-1923. He was elected to the French Academy in 1923. Shannon was knighted in 1922 in recognition of this service to the world of art. He died in London in 1923.