Phil May (portrait)

James Jebusa Shannon (1862-1923)

Oil on canvas


Support: 1333 × 921 mm

Collection: Tate Gallery, London (NO3825)

Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest, 1923

May stands tall in his hunting costume, cigar in one gloved hand, hat in the other, looking straight at the artist: May himself thought it "magnificent.... the best thing he has done" (qtd. in Houfe, Phil May, 156). Since 1896, May had been living close to Shannon in Holland Park Road, and they were good friends — he would go riding with Shannon and his daughter Kitty in Richmond Park (see Tate catalogue entry). Sadly, he died in the following August: "years of smoking and drinking and living on the edge of penury having weakened his frame" (Houfe, The Art of Leaving Out).

Image kindly made available on the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence. Downloaded, and comment added, by Jacqueline Banerjee.