Sotheby's To Offer the Yeats Family Collection
Ahead of the publication of the catalogue, here is a glimpse of what to expect from the exhibition and sale, for items at all price points:
items estimated at £500 and under
• Jack’s collapsible silk top hat (est. £500–700 / €600–800)
• A present to W.B. from his future wife, George: a silver box inscribed ‘Willy from George / July 1915’ (est. £100–120 / €150–150)
• John’s silver ring, engraved inside with his name (est. £400–600 / €450–700).
• Jack’s artist’s palette (est. £200–300 / €250–350)
• Photographs of W.B.’s greatest muse and love, Maud Gonne. He unsuccessfully asked her to marry him multiple times. She was the inspiration for more than eighty poems (est. £800–1,200 / €900–1,350).
items estimated at £1,000 and under
• Jack’s collection of nine model boats or hulls (est. £1,000–1,500 / €1,150–1,700)
• W.B.’s rosewood monogrammed brushes (est. £800–1,200 / €900–1,350)
• A large pair of brass spiral twist altar-sticks, that stood before the great fireplace at W.B.’s castle in Galway, Thoor Ballylee
(est. £800–1,200 / €900–1,350)
• A handmade boat by the Poet Laureate John Masefield, given to W.B. and his wife George (est. £700–900 / €800–1,050)
• A portrait by W.B.’s muse and sometime lover Maud Gonne of her daughter Iseult (est. £2,000–3,000 / € 2,250–3,400)
items estimated at £3,000 and under
• W.B.’s chess set, Canton, late 19th century (est. £2,500–3,500 / €2,850–3,950)
• The Yeats family dining table, acquired by W.B. with the money awarded to him from winning the Nobel Prize in 1923 (est. £1,500–2,500 / €1,700–2,850).
• W.B.’smetaldeedbox,painted“W.B.Yeats”onside (est. £2,000–3,000 / €2,250–3,400)
• A textile by Lily illustrating W.B.’s poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree (est. £1,500–2,500 / €1,700–2,850).
• Three embroideries by Lily Yeats (est. £3,000–5,000 / €3,400–5,700)
• Jack’s artist’s wooden box for pencils, decorated by Jack with a pirate theme, including a skull and crossbones together with the artist’s monogram
(est. £3,000–5,000 / €3,400–5,700)
• W.B.’s desk chair (est. £3,000–5,000 / €3,400–5,700)
• A sketch portrait of Jack, drawn by John in 1889 (est. £3,000–5,000 / €3,400–5,700)
• A self-portrait sketch by John, 1921 (est. £3,000–5,000 / €3,400–5,700)
items estimated at £5,000 and under
• The Yeats Family Scrapbook, comprising 47 childhood drawings by William, Jack, Lily and Lolly. All the Yeats children had drawn, sketched, and painted since they were old enough to carry a brush. Alongside portraits of each other, is what can be considered Jack’s very first self-portrait aged eight, depicting him in a farmer’s field (est. £4,000–6,000 / €4,500–6,800)
• EightphotographalbumsoftheYeatsfamily,mostlyassembledandcaptioned by Lily or Lolly Yeats (est. £5,000–7,000 / €5,700–7,900)
• A group sketches of family life by John, including pictures of W.B. as a baby and child, the children being read a story by their mother Susan (est. £5,000–7,000 / €5,700–7,900)
the yeats family artist john butler yeats (1839-1922) After a successful early career as a lawyer, John retrained as an artist and went on to work as an illustrator and portraitist for more than five decades. A member of the Royal Hibernian Academy, he was most celebrated for his sketch portraits and counted many Irish luminaries, as well his children, amongst his sitters. After moving his family to London in 1885, he later emigrated alone to New York where he became an influential member of the Irish-American cultural elite. Pictured left: John Butler Yeats, Self Portrait holding a palette (est. £20,000–30,000 / €22,500–33,800).
poet william butler yeats (1865-1939
) With the publication of The Lake of Innisfree and his collection of poems, The Wind Among the Reeds, W.B. established himself as a brilliant writer of lyrical and symbolist poems. His output was prolific, and his work remains one of the most important Irish contributions to the modernist movement that swept through the 20th century. He was deeply fascinated by the occult. As well as engaging in politics in later life, he also helped found Abbey Theatre, reinvigorating Irish drama as well as poetry and, in 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pictured right: John Butler Yeats, William Butler Yeats Reading in the Garden, 1888/9 (est. £8,000–12,000 / €9,000–13,500).
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