This image is subject to copyright and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without written permission.
John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary

Portrait of John O'Leary

John Butler Yeats (1839 – 1922)

  • Artist
    John Butler Yeats
  • Title
    Portrait of John O'Leary
  • Date
    c. 1900
  • Dimensions
    11 × 16.5cm
  • Medium
    Pencil
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Presented by James A. Healy in New York to Sligo County Library and Museum. In memory of his parents, John and Catherine Healy, 1966.
Description

John O’Leary was a favorite subject of John Butler Yeats. The National Gallery of Ireland owns three portraits in oil of him by Yeats and there are several drawings in existence, of which the Niland Collection is one of the most striking. O’Leary was arrested in 1865 for his involvement in Fenian propaganda. He was sentenced to 20 years. He spent nine years in penal servitude in England and the rest living in exile in Paris. Upon his return to Dublin in 1885, O’Leary was a member of the Contemporary Club whose meetings Yeats also attended and this was where he first sketched the impressive bearded figure of the Fenian. O’Leary’s gentlemanly behaviour and his knowledge of nationalism and cultural matters made a great impression on John and William Butler Yeats. WB regarded O’Leary as the ideal personification of Irish patriotism to which he later referred in his opening lines of September 1913, ‘Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone, Its with O’Leary in the grave’.

The Niland Collection drawing was made in the home of Mrs. Alice Stopford Green, an historian and a passionate Irish nationalist. It is inscribed ‘John O’Leary, when dining with Mrs. Richard Green’. Stopford Green, the Irish born widow of J.R. Green, entertained significant literary and political figures at her home in Kensington Square in London, where this drawing was made. O’Leary along with Arthur Griffith and Edward Carson were regular guests. She returned to live in Ireland in 1918 and was made a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

Browse the Collection

Browse by: Image / List

  1. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  2. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  3. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  4. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  5. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  6. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  7. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  9. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935)- Landscape with Picnic Scene
  10. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  13. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  17. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-G’Morrow Strawberry
  19. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  20. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  22. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  23. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  24. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene