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Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’

Johnny Patterson singing 'Bridget Donoghue' (The Singing Clown)

Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957)

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

  • Artist
    Jack B. Yeats
  • Title
    Johnny Patterson singing 'Bridget Donoghue' (The Singing Clown)
  • Date
    1928
  • Dimensions
    59 × 45cm
  • Medium
    Oil on canvas
  • 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 in 1966.
Description

The clown was a figure of unending fascination for Yeats who, like other modernist artists, saw parallels between his role as an artist and that of the clown within the circus. This painting depicts a specific historical figure, the legendary Johnny Patterson (1840-89). Yeats saw him perform in Sligo as a child and he appears in a number of his later oil paintings. An acrobat and circus performer, Patterson went to New York in 1879 where he met with great success. After his return to Ireland he set up his own circus company, Patterson’s Great United States Circus. His writing and performing of his own songs, such as Bridget Donoghue, earned him the title of the Singing Clown. Patterson died tragically as a result of injuries sustained by an attack in the circus ring when members of the crowd reacted violently to his rendition of a political song.

Patterson is shown singing to a crowd in a circus tent. Beside him stand enthusiastic members of the audience who have come down from their seats to join him in the ring. Patterson is set apart from them by his elevated position and by his clown’s make-up and elaborate costume which was embroidered with shamrocks and Celtic harps.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

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  1. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  2. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935)- Landscape with Picnic Scene
  3. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Jennie Mitchell
  4. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  7. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  8. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  9. Louis le Brocquy - Study towards an Image of W.B. Yeats
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  11. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  12. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  13. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  14. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Singing “The beautiful Picture“
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  21. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  22. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion
  23. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  24. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled