Charles Hazelwood Shannon took up lithography as an original art form in the late 1880's and it is as a lithographer that he produced his finest work. Shannon almost invariably drew directly on the stone and printed his own editions.
Shannon's name is invariably associated with that of his lifelong companion and collaborator, the artist Charles Ricketts. The two men had met whilst studying at the South London Technical Art School and their lives became entwined thereafter. Nicknamed ‘Orchid’ and ‘Marigold’ by Oscar Wilde, they lived together until Ricketts’ death in 1931. Both artists saw themselves as aesthetes, to a large extent isolated from society. They were passionate admirers of the grand tradition of Italian art, remaining aloof from the artistic trends of the time. They collaborated in founding The Dial magazine and later The Vale press. Shannon's art is characterised by the exquisite beauty which filled his life and by a refined tenderness seldom found in his generation of art.
In 1929 Shannon suffered brain damage from a fall from a ladder and although he lived for a further eight years, he was unable to recognise his friends, remaining almost entirely incapacitated until his death in 1937.