Wednesday, April 9, 2014

141. Charles Shannon as seen in 1893

Leo Simons, writing about the Fourth Arts and Crafts Exhibition for the Dutch newspaper Opregte Haarlemse Courant (4 December 1893), not only described William Morris as a speaker, and Charles Ricketts as a 'nervous and refined personality', he also gave a portrait of Charles Shannon, whom he considered a greater and more sensitive artist than Ricketts.

Paying a visit to the home of these young men, one meets the complaisant, handy Shannon, the quiet worker of the two, and one could mistake him for the younger, lesser artist, for the moon to the Sun Ricketts. However, the mildly ironic yet boyish expression of his pale eyes, and his delicate lips, betray a distinct personality, and his lithographs, even more than his wood engravings, are the work of an artistic talent that shows more sensitivity, and a deeper feeling for pure art, than the intellectual Ricketts.

Charles Shannon, 'White Nights', lithograph, 1893
Simons gave favourable descriptions of two lithographs by Shannon: 'White Nights' and 'Romantic Landscape' (both published in the third issue of The Dial, October 1893) of which he liked the use of soft line, light and shadow.

Simons recorded that Ricketts and Shannon were surprised by the attention given to their work in the Netherlands:

more copies of The Dial have been sold in our country than in America. In England, their privately published works are remarkably slow to sell. Not more than a hundred collectors buy these books for the love of art; another hundred or hundred and fifty that are not sold abroad, are bought by speculators. Now, being sold out, Daphnis and Chloe, is priced at forty guilders [c. 3 guineas] (original price: 26 guilders [2 guineas]), and the first two issues of The Dial that they had difficulty selling at 4½ guilders [7s.6d.] are now traded for twelve to eighteen guilders.