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    Sale 12309

    Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art, Maritime Art, Sporting & Wildlife Art

    7 July 2016, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 9

    Frank Markham Skipworth (1854-1929)

    Portrait of Sir James Jebusa Shannon (1862-1923)

    Price Realised  


    Frank Markham Skipworth (1854-1929)
    Portrait of Sir James Jebusa Shannon (1862-1923)
    signed with initials and dated 'F.M.S. 1885.' (upper left)
    oil on canvas, unframed
    36 x 28 in. (91.5 x 71.1 cm.)

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    The portrait and genre specialist Frank Markham Skipworth was born in Caistor, Lincolnshire. After rudimentary art training in Lincoln he entered the South Kensington Art Training Schools, where he studied under Sir Edward John Poynter from 1879 to 1882, a period that overlapped with James Jebusa Shannon’s tenure of study with Poynter at South Kensington. The two artists forged their friendship at this early stage in their careers, as witnessed by Skipworth’s 1883 portrait of Shannon in the guise of Fabien dei Franchi, a character created by Alexandre Dumas in his novella The Corsican Brothers (Museum of London). Skipworth went on to Paris, where he trained with William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury from 1883 to 1884 and, on returning to London, he took a studio in Chelsea not far from Shannon’s.

    Skipworth’s 1885 portrait of Shannon confirms the resumption of their friendship and shows the younger artist as if caught in the process of painting, palette in one hand and his signature cigarette in the other. The two men remained close; Skipworth and his wife Alison (later a film star of some fame) were witnesses at Shannon’s marriage to Florence Mary Cartwright.


    The artist's estate, and by descent.

    Pre-Lot Text

    SIR JAMES JEBUSA SHANNON, R.A., R.B.A., P.R.S.P.P. (1862-1923) (Lots 9-15)

    Born in rural Auburn, New York, the highly successful society portrait painter Sir James Jebusa Shannon (1862-1923) spent his youth in Canada. In 1878, at the age of sixteen, he travelled alone to England, where he trained under Sir Edward John Poynter (1836-1919) at the South Kensington School of Art (now the Royal College of Art) until 1881. The first of his many international honours was a gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle. Over the course of his career he engaged a variety of styles and exhibited widely at such venues as the Grosvenor Gallery, the New Gallery, the New English Art Club, and especially the London Royal Academy of Arts, to which he was elected a full academician in 1909. Shannon was a founding member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters of which he was president from 1910 to 1923. His contributions to the arts were officially recognized when he received a knighthood from King George V in 1922. Shannon’s art is represented in major public and private collections throughout the United Kingdom and the United States, including Tate Britain, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and The Royal Academy of Arts.

    We are grateful to Barbara Dyer Gallati for her assistance in preparing these catalogue entries.