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Details & Cataloguing

Yeats: The Family Collection

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London

Jack B. Yeats, R.H.A.
1871-1957
A HUMOROUS ILLUSTRATED LETTER (TITLED 'LETTER FROM DENIS O'GRADY TO HIS UNCLE MICHAEL MAHONY')
4 pages, folio (330 x 205mm.), 24 December [1887], including eleven ink and watercolour vignettes, some spotting and browning, occasional soiling, creases, centrefold splitting and occasional other short tears
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Literature

Pyle, The Different Worlds of Jack B. Yeats - His Cartoons and Illustrations 1

Catalogue Note

THE EARLIEST SURVIVING EXAMPLE OF JACK B. YEATS' 'FIRST SERIOUS ATTEMPTS' IN THE GENRE OF ILLUSTRATION (see Pyle, p. 57).

As noted by Hilary Pyle, 'Jack B. Yeats's youthful drawings of huntsmen and horses have all of the zest that is to be found in his mature oil painting'. This four-page letter, addressed from Tullynagracken, Co. Sligo is dated 24 December and was probably written in 1887 when Jack was aged sixteen. Pyle notes that 'the choice of the Sligo place name Tullynagracken (from the Irish, Tulaigh na gcroiceann, 'hill of the skins or hides'…) indicates how Yeats at this period enjoyed comical sounding words as well as humorous images, and could draw them from life around him.'

The letter describes 'a capital days hunting' and introduces a number of hunters (and their horses). The company is 'joined by Jack Yeats on his red headed charger from Iceland, which to my certain knowledge for been in the country for the last 26 years... ...Jack tells me it has every trick ever known…' ONE OF THE VIGNETTES COMPRISES AN EARLY SELF-PORTRAIT OF JACK B. YEATS. Entitled 'Jack Yeats as he would like to be' it shows Yeats in top hat and smart jacket on a black thoroughbred pony.

Pyle's catalogue of Yeats' Cartoons and Illustrations includes two letters of Dennis O'Grady: the present piece and a later letter now in the National Library of Ireland (Ms. 12160).

Yeats: The Family Collection

|
London