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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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  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  3. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  4. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  5. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  6. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  7. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Fortune and her wheel
  10. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  12. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  13. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  14. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  15. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  18. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  20. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  21. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  22. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  24. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)