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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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  3. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- An Island Funeral
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  6. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  7. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
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  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  10. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  11. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
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  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  15. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  16. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  17. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  18. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - Portrait
  19. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  20. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  21. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  22. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  23. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  24. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene