Shannon studied in London during the 1880s and remained there, enjoying success as a society portraitist and figure painter. (In 1922 he renounced his United States citizenship in order to accept a knighthood.) "Jungle Tales" portrays the artist’s wife reading to their daughter, Kitty, shown in profile, and another child. The painting’s title and date and its London origin suggest that the little group is captivated by Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, which had appeared in 1894. The intensely realistic faces contrast with the decorative patterns of the dottedmuslin and lace costumes and the elaborate design on the brilliant blue backdrop.
Signature: [at lower left]: J.J. SHANNON / 1895
George McCulloch, London, died 1907; his estate, London, 1907–1913; sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, 23 May 1913, no. 87; T. Permain, as agent, 1913