Shannon attended the City and Guilds of London Art School (then known as South London School of Technical Art, formerly Lambeth School of Art), and was subsequently considerably influenced by his lifetime partner Charles Ricketts and by the example of the great Venetians. In his early work he was addicted to a heavy low tone, which he abandoned subsequently for dearer and more transparent colour. He achieved great success with his portraits and his Giorgionesque figure compositions, which are marked by a classic sense of style, and with his etchings and lithographic designs. (Picture: Charles de Sousy Ricketts by George Charles Beresford)
The Dublin Municipal Gallery owns his circular composition "The Bunch of Grapes" and "The Lady with the Green Fan" (portrait of Mrs Hacon). His "Study in Grey" is at the Munich Gallery, a "Portrait of Mr Staats Forbes" at Bremen, and a "Souvenir of Van Dyck" at Melbourne. One of his most remarkable pictures is "The Toilet of Venus" in the collection of Lord Northcliffe. Several of his portrait works are on display in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
©George Charles Beresford (1864-1938). Charles Hazelwood Shannon and Charles de Sousy Ricketts (©4)
Charles Hazelwood Shannon attended the City and Guilds of London Art School (then known as South London School of Technical Art, formerly Lambeth School of Art), and was subsequently considerably influenced by his lifetime partner Charles de Sousy Ricketts and by the example of the great Venetians. Shannon became disabled in 1928 after a fall, and the neurological damage that resulted caused amnesia and ended his career.
The Toilet, 1912
Self Portrait, 1897
©Charles Haslewood Shannon/NPG 3106. Charles Ricketts, 1898 (©4)
Charles Hazelwood Shannon and Charles de Sousy Ricketts
Complete sets of his lithographs and etchings have been acquired by the British Museum and the Berlin and Dresden print rooms. He was awarded a first-class gold medal at Munich in 1895 and a first-class silver medal in Paris in 1900.
Shannon became disabled in 1928 after a fall while hanging a picture, and the neurological damage that resulted caused amnesia and ended his career.
An Idyll, 1904
Brown and Silver
Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale, 1916
Lilah McCarthy, 1922
Miss Rachel Castellan, 1915
Rose and Blanche
Sir John Martin Harvey
The Amethyst Necklace, 1905
The Bath, 1908
The Bathers, 1900
The Childhood of Bacchus, 1919
The Golden Age, 1921
The Toilet, 1903
The Willow Pond, 1923
The Wise and Foolish Virgins
Charles de Sousy Ricketts (2 October 1866 - 7 October 1931) was a versatile English artist, illustrator, author and printer, and is best known for his work as book designer and typographer from 1896 to 1904 with the Vale Press, and his work in the theatre as a set and costume designer.
Ricketts was born in Geneva to a French mother and an English father. He grew up mainly in France and Italy. He began his studies in art at the City and Guilds Technical Art School in Lambeth, in 1882, after both his parents had died.
According to William Rothenstein, "Ricketts, with his pale, delicate features, fair hair and pointed red-gold beard, looked like a Clouet drawing. Half French, he had the quick mind and the rapid speech of a southerner."
At the Art School he met Charles Shannon (1863–1937), painter and lithographer, who would be his lifelong partner in both his artistic and personal life. On the advice of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, they settled in England rather than abroad.
They founded The Dial, a magazine, which had five issues from 1889 to 1897, and the Vale Press, named after their house, The Vale, in Chelsea, London. "The portrait of Ricketts by Shannon was painted two years after Ricketts had founded the Vale Press. It is a record of their friendship, slightly tentative in its character, with Ricketts turning his head away so that he is seen in profile. He liked it precisely for this reason since it shows him 'turning away from the 20th century to think only of the 15th.' It is labelled on the back 'The Man in an Inverness Cloak'." - National Portrait Gallery
William Rothenstein's splendid 1897 lithograph portraying his two fellow printmakers, "Charles Ricketts & Charles H. Shannon."
Ricketts was one of two well-known illustrators of Oscar Wilde's work, the other being Aubrey Beardsley who worked on Salomé. He and Shannon were friends and supporters of Wilde, for whom Ricketts painted, in the style of Clouet, the hero of Wilde's short story, 'The Portrait of Mr. W. H.'"
It was in the work of the Vale Press that Ricketts would find his talents were best employed. The enterprise also involved Thomas Sturge Moore, and later William Llewellyn Hacon (1860-1910), a barrister. The actual printing was carried out by Ballantyne Press under the supervision of Charles McCall. A total of about 75 books were produced, including a complete Shakespeare in 39 volumes, before the special type fonts were destroyed. In parallel, Ricketts was involved with the Eragny Press, run by Lucien Pissarro and his wife Esther, from 1894 to 1914.
After 1902, he turned more to painting and sculpture. His principal pictures in public galleries are "The Death of Don Juan" (Tate Gallery), "The Plague" (Musée du Luxembourg, Paris) and "Montezuma" (Manchester Art Gallery).
Ricketts also wrote on art, was a collector, and was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1922 and a full member in 1928. In 1929 he was appointed a member of the Royal Fine Arts Commission.
Ricketts became a celebrated and sought-after designer for the stage. "Mr Ricketts is infallible in his ideas on costume" observed The Times. Plays on which he worked included Oscar Wilde's Salome (1906), Laurence Binyon's Attila (1907), King Lear (1909), Bernard Shaw's The Dark Lady (1910), Arnold Bennett's Judith (1916), Maurice Maeterlinck's The Betrothal (1920), Shaw's Saint Joan (1924), Macbeth (1926) and John Masefield's The Coming of Christ (1928). Outside London he worked for the Abbey Theatre, Dublin on plays by W. B. Yeats and J.M. Synge. Ricketts also designed much-publicised new productions of The Gondoliers and The Mikado for Rupert D'Oyly Carte in the 1920s.
The Gondoliers costume designed by Charles Ricketts, opening production for the restored Savoy Theatre on 21st October, 1929
Michael MacLennan wrote "Last Romantics", a play based on the life of Ricketts, Shannon and their circle, including Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley and Michael Field. The play premiered in 2003 and was a finallist for the Governor General's Literary Award that year.
Recently sold, for 50$, on ebay this delightful ex-libris was designed for Joseph Gleeson White by Charles Ricketts - a more 1890s combination one couldn't really find. Gleeson White was the editor of The Studio, an editor and book designer for George Bell and Co., as well as a talented artist in his own right. He was part of a circle of the literatti in Christchurch in Hampshire in the 1890s which included Frederick Rolfe for a while.
Design of a theatre costume for actress Lillah McCarthy, by Charles Ricketts
Designs for Nanki-Poo and Pooh-Bah, the 1926 BBC Mikado Broadcast, by Charles Ricketts
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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