Early paintings and studies by Charles Shannon have regularly turned up at local auction houses in Britain in recent years. Now, at Reeman Dansie in Colchester, an undated sketch by Shannon is on offer. The auction will take place on 9 October.
|Charles Shannon, pastel sketch, interior, undated, probably 1880s-1890s|
We see a bedroom with a four-poster bed in front of which a woman sits in a chair, holding her head, while a second woman behind is combing or brushing her hair. The light comes from the left, from two candles placed at different heights. It is a pastel sketch and clearly never finished. On the right is a rather tall shadowy female figure not executed in colour. The face of the standing woman also remained in a preliminary state.
|Charles Shannon, pastel sketch, interior, undated, probably 1880s-1890s (detail)|
Zooming in on the scene, we see another thing: the sketch is applied over a regular pattern of horizontal and vertical lines, as if the sketch was intended for a large-format painting.
The same combination of grid, square format, and unfinished state can be recognised in a sketch for St Mark's Eve at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. [See here for an image.]