Wednesday, July 15, 2020

468. A Bit of History:

Nine years ago, on 20 July 2011, I began this blog. Before that, I managed an 'eGroup' about Ricketts. To be honest, I had forgotten all about that. The other day, among a stash of miscellaneous papers, I found the printed-out email correspondence.

Charles Ricketts & Charles Shannon (blog No 1, 20 July 2011)

The eGroup allowed users to create a mailing list, or sign up for membership. It was a simple means of group communication. The eGroup address was, and, apparently, I had started the list somewhere early in 2000.

The services for this kind of 'email list management web site' were available since 1997, the name eGroups appeared in 1998, and had around 250.000 users at the time. The company behind it was sold and resold a couple of times, before it was bought by Yahoo in August 2000. 

Twenty years later, in January 2020, Yahoo deleted all content from the mailing groups.

The mails that were recovered - this concerned a large pile of irregular and unsorted papers waiting to be properly archived - were dated 21 November 2000 through 19 January 2001. 

William McKeown,
England's Giorgione (2005)

One of the subscribers was William McKeown, who introduced himself as an art student from the States, working on a doctoral dissertation on the paintings and lithographs of Charles Shannon. In 2005, his dissertation earned him a Ph.D from Florida State University. It is called: England's Giorgione: Charles H. Shannon and Venetianism in Late Victorian England. He is currently Associate Professor at the University of Memphis Department of Art.

His publications include an article about Shannon in The Burlington Magazine of May 2010: 'Shannon in the House of Delia: a Theme from Tibullus in a Painting by Charles Hazelwood Shannon'. He also presented conference papers on Shannon: in 2004, at Southeastern College Art Conference, Jacksonville, Florida, he talked about 'The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili as a Source for Ricketts and Shannon's Daphnis and Chloe illustrations', and in 2010 he presented a paper on Shannon at Southeastern College Art Conference, Richmond, Virginia: 'Charles H. Shannon and his Patrons in the Late Victorian and Edwardian Art World.' His other publications are about John Ruskin.

When he joined the list, I answered him that 'the list is not really active', and that, although I knew Ricketts and Shannon enthusiasts in the USA, Canada, and Great Britain, none of them had become subscribers: 'Right now, we are the only members of the list.' In fact, I had just re-subscribed myself because of his enquiry, as I had unsubscribed from the list during the previous year, as nothing was happening there.

Well, a few new members subscribed sometime later, including a collector, and a member who stated that Shannon was his great-uncle. And then, again, silence. 

Luckily, this blog's history is different.