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John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell

Portrait of Susan Mitchell

John Butler Yeats (1839 – 1922)

  • Artist
    John Butler Yeats
  • Title
    Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  • Date
    1897
  • Dimensions
    11.5 × 15.5cm
  • Medium
    Pencil
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Gift from Ms V Franklin in 1959
Description

This drawing was made while Susan Mitchell (1866-1926) was living as a paying guest and companion to Lily Yeats at the Yeats family home in Bedford Park in London. The future poet and journalist who would later work with AE on the Irish Homestead and the Irish Statesman made a very favourable impression on John Butler Yeats. He enjoyed her singing and her intellectual company. Susan also benefited from the experience of living in the Yeats household which was full of cultural conversation and interesting visitors. She later stated in a talk on John Butler Yeats that

‘In the home of Mr. Yeats I found myself in what seemed a wonderful
society, a society where ideas were raised above all other possessions
and where conversation ran on subjects, some of which I had indeed
thought of, but which thinking I regretted in myself …’ (1).

The drawing is a preparatory study for an oil portrait which was completed in 1904 and which is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. Susan wears a white blouse with an elaborate lace collar fastened with a brooch. Yeats has depicted her costume in loose cross hatchings while the sitter’s head and features are more closely delineated. The drawing conveys the immediacy of Susan Mitchell’s presence and it shares the same intimate quality found in other sketches of the artist’s daughters and close female acquaintances with who John Butler Yeats was normally at ease.

(1)Susan Mitchell quoted in William Murphy, Prodigal Father. The Life of John Butler Yeats, (1839-1922), Cornell University Press, 1978, p.207.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

Browse the Collection

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  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  2. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  4. Louis le Brocquy - Study towards an Image of W.B. Yeats
  5. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  7. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  8. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  9. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Cartoon for Figure of Christ
  11. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  13. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  15. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  18. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  21. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  22. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- An Island Funeral
  24. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary