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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

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  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  2. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  4. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  7. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  10. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  12. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  13. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  15. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  17. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  18. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  19. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  20. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  21. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  24. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum