James Jebusa Shannon
James Jebusa Shannon was a leading portraitist in England during the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. A young Shannon showed early talent for the arts. Although born in Auburn, New York, at the age of 16 his parents sent him to the National Art Training School in South Kensington (later the Royal College of Art), where he studied under the French-trained artist Edward Poynter. Two years into his studies, Shannon earned a gold medal for figure drawings in the national art school competition in Britain. The young artist’s abilities quickly garnered him notice as he received commissions from Queen Victoria to paint portraits of her staff. The portraits were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1881 and 1882.
Shannon quickly became one of the most sought-after portraitists among the middle and upper classes in England. He grew close with the noblewoman Violet Manners, Duchess of Rutland, and painted many images of her and her family. In 1886 Shannon married Florence Mary Cartwright, who, alongside their daughter, became a prominent subject for the artist. Throughout his career, Shannon exhibited his work regularly at the Royal Academy and, in 1909, he became a full academician. A year later, he was elected president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and, shortly before his death, he was knighted in honor of his achievements in art. His works can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Portrait Gallery, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.