Claude Allin Shepperson, ARA ARWS ARE RI (1867-1921) As a man and an artist, Claude Shepperson was praised for his charm and refinement, and he remains best known for the elongated elegance of his female type, the ‘Shepperson Girl’. Nevertheless, his artistic accomplishments were wide-ranging, and included painting, printmaking and illustration. Claude Shepperson was born in Beckenham, Kent, on 25 October 1867. Educated privately, he spent the years 1880-82 at Weymouth College. Though first studying law, he turned to art, and spent two years in Paris. On his return to London, he took classes at Heatherley’s (1891), and received help from Sir Frank Short.
He soon began to exhibit landscapes and social scenes in a variety of media at leading societies in London and the provinces. Later, he concentrated on etching and lithography and, through his work as a printmaker, he made the acquaintance of the artists, George Soper and his daughter, Eileen. In the 1890s, Shepperson illustrated books and periodicals in an elegant manner often reminiscent of the American, Edwin Austin Abbey. However, his contributions to Gresham’s Imperial Edition of Dickens, and especially his illustrations to A Christmas Carol and The Haunted Man, in the early twentieth century, show his ability to create darker atmospherics. Most of his humorous work appeared in Punch, between 1905-20, with an increasing emphasis on fashionable society. His fellow literary contributor to Punch, E V Lucas, considered him to be the finest illustrator of his day. A member of the London Sketch Club, he acted as a tutor for Percy Bradshaw’s Press Art School. Living for many years at 18 Kensington Court Place, Shepperson died at his studio in Mulberry Walk, Chelsea, on 30 December 1921. He was the subject of a memorial show at the Leicester Galleries in the following year. His work is represented in the collections of the British Museum, Tate and the V&A.