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Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man

An Island Man

Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957)

© Estate of Jack B Yeats. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2013

  • Artist
    Jack B. Yeats
  • Title
    An Island Man
  • Date
    1906
  • Dimensions
    23 × 30.5cm
  • Medium
    Pen, ink and watercolour
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Presented to Sligo County Library and Museum, 1966 by James A. Healy as a memorial to his parents John and Catherine Healy.
Description

This is the original drawing for the frontispiece of John Millington Synge’s The Aran Islands (1907), to which Yeats contributed 12 pen and ink illustrations. The original drawings were later hand-coloured in watercolour when Yeats exhibited them.

Yeats met Synge in 1905 when the two men were commissioned to produce a series of articles on the Congested Districts Board for the Manchester Guardian. They travelled together through Mayo and Galway in the summer of 1905, Synge gathering information for his articles while Yeats sketched potential images. The meeting with Synge had a profound impact on Yeats who was impressed by the writer’s knowledge and understanding of life in the West of Ireland, and also by his personality.

Synge spoke Irish and had spent several summers living on Inishmore, as recounted in his book. While most of Yeats’s illustrations to the Aran Islands show the islanders at work, the frontispiece shows an islander standing on the coastline looking out to sea. He wears traditional Aran Island costume as described by Synge. This includes his hat, his waistcoat or bainín jacket, his flannel trousers tied with a plated crios belt and his cow-skin pampooties. According to Synge’s account of the islanders, their clothes suited their life on the islands. The pampooties, for example, enabled them to clamber across its rocky terrain. Yeats’s frontispiece emulates Synge’s combination of ethnography with his keenly felt admiration for the islanders and their way of life. The man’s confident pose and distinctive appearance lend him an air of dignity. The difficulty of his existence is hinted at by the rocky outcrop in the background of the drawing.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

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  1. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  3. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Simon the Cyrenian
  6. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Jennie Mitchell
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  10. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  15. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  16. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  17. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  19. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  20. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  21. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  24. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum