Hilary Pyle, Yeats: Portrait of an Artistic Family, London, 1997, p.98, fig.73
Lily was John Butler Yeats’ favourite model and he drew her continuously. The present work is one of two major oils he did of her, the other being in the National Gallery of Ireland collection. In July 1897, JBY wrote to Sarah Purser about the current painting, telling her he had been working on the portrait for a year and half - characteristically it took him a long time to finish. The painting was subsequently exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1899, the same year Lily herself exhibited a painting for her first and only time. The work is painted in the fluid style that he had begun to make his own, and is full of the warmth of Lily's personality. A devoted daughter, it was she who accompanied JBY on his voyage to New York, not knowing that he would never return but she continued to write to him regularly.
Original canvas. Undulates slightly. Some minor craquelure near the lower edge, only visible upon close inspection. Slightly dirty surface; otherwise the work appears in good overall condition.
Under ultraviolet light there appear to be possible areas of infilling to craquelure in the background, to the sitter's neck and her hair.
Held in a gilt composite frame. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."