This image is subject to copyright and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without written permission.
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

Browse the Collection

Browse by: Image / List

  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  2. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  3. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  4. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  5. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - The Great Breath
  6. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion
  7. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  8. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  10. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  13. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-G’Morrow Strawberry
  15. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  16. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  17. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  18. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  19. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  20. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  22. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  24. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph