James Jebusa Shannon  (Frontpage)  (What's New)  (Thumbnail_Index)

Sir James Jebusa Shannon
(Self Portrait)
circa 1919
National Portrait Gallery, London
Oil on canvas
95.3 x 69.9 cm (37 1/2 x 27 1/2 in.)
jpg: npg
Sampling of Works by Shannon 

Madame Patey

The White Hat 


 Jungle Tales 
(Contes de la Jungle)

A Portrait Of Ruby Miller

In The Springtime


White Lilies
(A Portrait Of Baroness Alfred De   Meyer)                                             Date?

The Flower Girl 

Phil May

Knitting, Nora Ward and Kitty Shannon 
c. 1900-05

Mother and Child 
(Lady Shannon and Kitty)
c. 1900-1910

On the Dunes 
(Lady Shannon and Kitty)
c. 1900-1910

Lily Elsie (Mrs Bullough)
c. 1916
James Jebusa Shannon 
American artist

From: 1911 edition of an encyclopedia

SHANNON, JAMES JEBUSA (1862- ), Anglo-American artist, was born at Auburn, New York, in 1862', and at the age of eight was taken by his parents to Canada. When he was sixteen, he went to England, where he studied at South Kensington, and after three years won the gold medal for figure painting. His portrait of the Hon. Horatia Stopford, one of the queen's maids of honor, attracted attention at the Royal Academy in 1881, and in 1887 his portrait of Henry Vigne in hunting costume was one of the successes of the exhibition, subsequently securing medals for the artist at Paris, Berlin and Vienna. He soon became one of the leading portrait painters in London. He was one of the first members of the New English Art Club, and in 1897 was elected an associate of the Royal Academy, and R.A. in 1909. His picture, " The Flower Girl," was bought in 1901 for the National Gallery of British Art.
(1911 edition of an encyclopedia)
From: Mark Borghi Fine Art Inc

Sir James Jebusa Shannon was one of the outstanding Society Portraitist of his day, his success lay in an ability to paint portraits that appealed to the prevalent aesthetic taste and these paintings reveal his artistic sensibility, fine sense of color and stylistic bravura. 

Born in Auburn, New York, of Irish parentage, the family had settled in St Catherines, Ontario, by 1875 and Shannon took his first art lessons from a local artist, William E Wright. In 1878 he traveled to England and studied at the National Art Training School under Sir Edward Poynter. As Poynter's most gifted pupil, he received commissions from Queen Victoria in 1881 and 1882, and although he had intended to return to the United States, the success of his early works persuaded him to remain in London. In 1886 he married Florence Mary Cartwright and a year later their daughter Kitty was born. He painted them on many occasions and in these more intimate and informal works he expressed his true artistic talent. 

During the mid 1880s, Shannon, together with his fellow American compatriot John Singer Sargent, dominated the field of British portraiture. Shannon's popularity was encouraged by the patronage of Violet Manners, later Marchioness of Granby, and he became the Manners family's favorite artist. 

Shannon was a prominent exhibitor at the Royal Academy, the Grosvenor Gallery, the New Gallery and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He was a founder member of the New English Art Club in 1886, became a Royal Academician in 1909, was President of the Royal society of Portrait Painters from 1910-1923 and was knighted in 1922. Following his death, memorial exhibitions were held at the Leicester Galleries in London and the Albright Art Gallery and the Cincinnati Museum, USA. 
(Mark Borghi Fine Art Inc)

From: Taylor Gallery, London

The son of Irish immigrants, Shannon was born in Auburn, New York. In 1870 he moved with his family to Saint Catherine's, Ontario where he displayed early artistic talent so much so that his father sent him to study art at the South Kensington school in London (now the Royal College of Art). There at the age of 18 he won the gold medal in the annual competition of all the art schools in the United Kingdom. He was immediately commissioned by Queen Victoria to paint the portraits of the Hon. Horatio Stopford and Mrs Henry Bourke (both now in the Royal Collection), which were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881 and 1882 respectively. 

Based on this early success he decided to stay in London where he became a noted society portrait artist. By 1892 he was so successful that he was able to purchase a substantial studio in Holland Park Road where on and off he spent the rest of his life. He was elected an associate of the London Academy of Arts in 1897. 

In 1904 he went with his wife and daughter Kitty for the first of three extended stays in America. There he was very prolific and had three one-man exhibitions at M Knoedler and Co in New York in 1905, 1906 and 1907. 

He was President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1910 and in 1922 renounced his U.S. citizenship in order to accept the Knighthood that was given him in recognition of his talents as a portrait artist. 

He died in 1923 at the age of 61. His work is represented in many major museums including the Metropolitan in New York. 
(Taylor Gallery, London)



  • Christian Brinton  “A Painter of Fair Women”  Munsey’s Magazine; May 1906


Christopher Wood, Dictionary of Victorian Painters (Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 1971)

J. Johnson and A. Greutzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940 (Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 1980)

Kenneth McConkey, Memory and Desire: Painting in Britain and Ireland at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, (London, 2002).

(Mark Borghi Fine Art Inc

1911 edition of an encyclopedia

Centre for Whistler Studies


By:  Natasha Wallace
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Created 1/5/2004
Updated 1/5/2004