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SHANNON, James Jebusa (1862-1923)

Portrait of Grace, Lady Dance
SHANNON, James Jebusa (1862-1923)
Portrait of Grace, Lady Dance
Oil on Canvas
40 x 30 inches101.5 x 76 cms

Provenance : Private Collection, Devon, England to 2002
Christie’s May 2004

Shannon was born in New York to parents, who were immigrants from Ireland. The family moved later to Canada, but determining on a career as a painter, the young Shannon travelled to England as a sixteen year old to study at the South Kensington Schools. Exhibiting at the Royal Academy at the age of only 19, one of Shannon’s portraits created such attention that it effectively determined his path as a London portrait painter.

This beautifully lively sketch is a study for the finished picture of Lady Dance, which Shannon exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1919. Grace Dance, nee Spong, was the wife of George Dance (1857–1932) a well known lyricist, librettist and theatre manager in England, who was knighted in 1923. With Grace Dance’s figure just beginning to emerge from a mass of Shannon’s slashing brushstrokes, this picture admirably demonstrates the excitingly free working methods of this highly skilled portraitist.

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