Jacques-Emile Blanche

Portraits of Charles Shannon and Charles Ricketts

1904

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 921 x 730 mm
frame: 1155 x 965 x 102 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Charles Shannon 1937
Reference
N04907

Display caption

The French painter Blanche made portraits of many of the artists and writers associated with the Decadent movement, including Beardsley, Arthur Symons and Charles Conder. Ricketts is shown here on the left, next to his lifelong friend and partner Charles Shannon. Ricketts designed Wilde’s A House of Pomegranates 1891 and The Sphinx 1894. This portrait was painted at Lansdowne House in London where they lived together for many years. Wilde was a frequent visitor, remarking that it was ‘the one house in London where you will never be bored’.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Jacques-Emile Blanche 1861-1942

N04907 Portraits of Charles Shannon and Ricketts 1904

Inscribed 'to Ricketts | & Ch. Shannon | J.E. Blanche 1904' b.r.
Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 28 3/4 (92 x 73)
Bequeathed by Charles Shannon 1937
Exh: New English Art Club, London, November-December 1904 (116); International Society, Cartwright Memorial Hall, Bradford, October-December 1905 (43); Salon de la Société Nationale, Paris, May-July 1906 (123); Inaugural London Exhibition, National Portrait Society, London, January-February 1911 (44); X Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia, Venice, April-October 1912 (Blanche 8, repr. pl.8); RSA, Edinburgh, May-September 1914 (397), lent by Charles Shannon; on loan to the Tate Gallery 1936-7
Lit: Cecil Lewis (ed.), Self-Portrait taken from the Letters and Journals of Charles Ricketts, R.A. (London 1939), p.109
Repr: Kunst für Alle, XXIX, 1913, p.126; Jacques-Emile Blanche, Portraits of a Lifetime (London 1937), facing p.144

Ricketts, with a beard, is on the left. Charles Ricketts (1866-1931), painter, illustrator, designer, sculptor and writer on art, and his lifelong friend Charles Shannon (1863-1937), painter and illustrator. They lived together for many years until Ricketts's death in 1931 and, despite limited means, built up a fine collection of drawings, pictures and other objets d'art, most of which is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

The portrait was painted in their house in London, Lansdowne House, Lansdowne Road, W.11. Ricketts noted in his journal under 11 July 1904: 'Blanche to paint us. The likenesses are striking and the heads well constructed'.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.56-7, reproduced p.56