Musée No:656.012Regular price £25.00
Portrait of Cecilia Tower
Artist: James Jebusa Shannon
Sir James Jebusa Shannon (1862 –1923) was an Anglo-American artist. He was born in Auburn, New York. When he was sixteen, he went to England, where he studied at South Kensington, and after three years won the gold medal for figure painting. His portrait of one of the queen's maids of honour, attracted attention at the Royal Academy in 1881, and in 1887 his portrait of Henry Vigne in hunting costume was one of the successes of the exhibition, subsequently securing medals for the artist at Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. He soon became one of the leading portrait painters in London.
The sitter: Cecilia Tower (1848-1935) was a the second wife of Christopher John Hume Tower, landed gentry from Weald Hall in Essex. This portrait of her was one of Shannon’s early mature works, painted and exhibited the year immediately following his first major critical success. He became best known for his portraits of women, and the museum’s painting is characteristic of the type of decorative figure painting that brought him fame.
She is wearing a fashionable silk evening gown and a boa and she is painted in his favourite palette of colours: soft lavenders and pearl greys, along with pinks. It is said that the delicacy of colour contributes to the elegance of his portraits.