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John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary

Portrait of John O'Leary

John Butler Yeats (1839 – 1922)

  • Artist
    John Butler Yeats
  • Title
    Portrait of John O'Leary
  • Date
    c. 1900
  • Dimensions
    11 × 16.5cm
  • Medium
    Pencil
  • 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, 1966.
Description

John O’Leary was a favorite subject of John Butler Yeats. The National Gallery of Ireland owns three portraits in oil of him by Yeats and there are several drawings in existence, of which the Niland Collection is one of the most striking. O’Leary was arrested in 1865 for his involvement in Fenian propaganda. He was sentenced to 20 years. He spent nine years in penal servitude in England and the rest living in exile in Paris. Upon his return to Dublin in 1885, O’Leary was a member of the Contemporary Club whose meetings Yeats also attended and this was where he first sketched the impressive bearded figure of the Fenian. O’Leary’s gentlemanly behaviour and his knowledge of nationalism and cultural matters made a great impression on John and William Butler Yeats. WB regarded O’Leary as the ideal personification of Irish patriotism to which he later referred in his opening lines of September 1913, ‘Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone, Its with O’Leary in the grave’.

The Niland Collection drawing was made in the home of Mrs. Alice Stopford Green, an historian and a passionate Irish nationalist. It is inscribed ‘John O’Leary, when dining with Mrs. Richard Green’. Stopford Green, the Irish born widow of J.R. Green, entertained significant literary and political figures at her home in Kensington Square in London, where this drawing was made. O’Leary along with Arthur Griffith and Edward Carson were regular guests. She returned to live in Ireland in 1918 and was made a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

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  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  3. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  5. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  7. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  8. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - Portrait
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  10. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  11. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  12. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  13. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  14. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  15. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  16. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  17. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Fortune and her wheel
  20. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  21. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  22. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Cartoon for Figure of Christ
  24. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Self Portrait