Sir James Jebusa Shannon, R.A., R.B.A., P.R.S.P.P. (1862-1923)
Sir James Jebusa Shannon, R.A., R.B.A., P.R.S.P.P. (1862-1923)

Charles Carrington Burke Esq.: A sketch

Sir James Jebusa Shannon, R.A., R.B.A., P.R.S.P.P. (1862-1923)
Charles Carrington Burke Esq.: A sketch
signed 'J.J. SHANNON.' (lower left) and inscribed 'C. BURKE ESQ.' (upper left)
oil on panel, unframed
16 3/8 x 10 ½ in. (41.6 x 26.7 cm.)
The artist's estate, and by descent.
'Art Chronicle', Portfolio, London, 1888, vol. xix, p. 104.
London, New English Art Club, 1888, no. 77.

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Lot Essay

Charles Carrington Burke (1853-1904) was a son of the wealthy barrister James St. George Burke and his wife, the former Anne Eliza Grubbe. Schooled at Harrow, he received an M.A. at Cambridge in 1878. He married Frances Philippa Addison in 1882 and the couple lived at Mitchen Hall, Surrey.

Painted at the outset of Shannon’s career, this sketchily worked, informal portrait displays the artist’s interest in portraying the effects of artificial light as it falls on the figure and still-life elements in an otherwise darkened interior – characteristics that align the work with progressive French styles.

The portrait was displayed in 1888 at the New English Art Club as Charles Burke, Esq.: A Sketch and was praised by one reviewer who noted, “Mr. J.J. Shannon’s little sketch of Charles Burke, Esq., in military undress, seated at a study table lit by shaded spirit-lamp, is, in its way, a study of values as good as possible, admirable in chiaroscuro, in low, rich, harmonised colour, with character in every touch.” [“Art Chronicle,” Portfolio, vol. xix (1888), p. 104.] Shannon’s now unlocated portrait of the sitter’s wife had been shown at the New English Art Club the previous year. He had probably met the couple through Charles Burke’s older brother Harold Arthur Burke (1852-1942), who was trying to establish himself as an artist at this time. (Shannon would paint Harold Burke’s wife, Beatrice, around 1898.)

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