39
39
John Butler Yeats
SARAH PURSER
Estimate
1,2001,800
LOT SOLD. 3,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
39
John Butler Yeats
SARAH PURSER
Estimate
1,2001,800
LOT SOLD. 3,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Yeats: The Family Collection

|
London

John Butler Yeats
1839-1922
SARAH PURSER

Catalogue Note

John Butler Yeats' studio at 44 York Street, which he rented from 1881 to 1883, quickly became a centre of art and philosophy in Dublin. Sarah Purser, a portrait painter herself, was one of the regular visitors. JBY enjoyed her wit and appreciated her talents as a painter. He described as 'her unique quality' that 'you felt for her an every-growing gratitude, and yet you did not fall in love' (quoted in W. Murphy, Prodigal Father, 1978, p.127).

In the mid-1880 it was Sarah Purser who worried about apparent aimlessness of W. B. Yeats' career, bluntly telling JBY at dinner in her home 'you can make the boy a doctor for fifteen shillings a week'. JBY defended his son's course, asking the diners if they would be willing to hear a poem by him. Sarah consented to listen but 'without sympathy'. He read The Priest and the Fairy. 'That was all that was needed. From that moment on...his passports were made out and he was free to enter the kingdom of poetry, all because of a little poem...in which these infallible critics had found the true note, the fresh note of the Discoverer.' (from JBY's unfinished Memoirs, quoted in Murphy, op. cit., p.140)

Never one for self-promotion, it was thanks to Sarah Purser that in 1901 JBY had his first exhibition of works in Dublin in a joint exhibition with Nathaniel Hone - two artists Purser felt had been neglected by the Dublin art scene.

Yeats: The Family Collection

|
London