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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. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  3. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  5. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Singing “The beautiful Picture“
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  8. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  10. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  11. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  12. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  13. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  14. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Simon the Cyrenian
  16. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  19. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  20. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - Landscape with Woman and Children
  21. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  22. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  24. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion