Charles Shannon was born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. He studied at the City and Guilds Technical Art School in Lambeth, London where he met his life-long friend and collaborator Charles Ricketts. In 1898 they moved into Whistler’s former house, The Vale, in Chelsea, which provided the name for their private press. The same year he took up lithography and began exhibiting as a painter; he also achieved some importance as a wood engraver. In all he made some 109 lithographs and was one of the very few lithographers working in England who had their own press at a time when lithography was in danger of being abandoned as an artistic medium. His lithographic work falls into two periods: 1889-97 and 1904-9. Many were based on paintings which showed an influence from the Italian painters of the fifteenth century and the Pre-Raphaelite painters. The works in the British Council collection fall mostly into the latter period, but does include works from Daphnis and Chlöe (1893), the most successful book published by the artist with Charles Ricketts.

Out of the Wood British Woodcuts and Wood Engravings 1890-1945, The British Council 1991