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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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  2. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  5. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - The Great Breath
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  9. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- An Island Funeral
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  12. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Fortune and her wheel
  14. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  15. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  17. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - Landscape with Woman and Children
  18. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  19. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  20. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  22. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  23. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  24. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled