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  • Posts Tagged ‘W.B. Yeats’


    Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022
    JOHN BUTLER YEATS (1839-1922) – William Butler Yeats. UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,000 AT HAMMER

    This drawing of the poet W.B. Yeats by his father John Butler Yeats has attracted some competitive bidding at Morgan O’Driscoll’s online sale of Irish art which closes this evening. Estimated at 800-1,200 the small pencil drawing measuring 12″ x 9.4″ originally in the Yeats family collection has so far attracted 48 bids. The current bid on lot 44 stands at 3,000. The catalogue is online.


    Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

    Memories of the goodwill shown by those working in the Irish theatre towards the arts in general and visual art in particular are contained in a lot at Fonsie Mealy’s Spring Rare Book Sale in Castlecomer on March 11. Lot 608 is a large Irish linen printed handkerchief sold by the Irish players at $1 towards a building for Sir Hugh Lane’s gift of paintings for Ireland. Dated April 1913 it is illustrated with a group scene of players and individual portraits, signed by W.B. Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory and folded in its original envelope. The lot contains Irish plays by Yeats, Synge, William Boyle and Lady Gregory toured under the direction of Alfred Wareing in the summer of 1906. Consigned by Lady Gregory’s grand daughter Mrs. Catherine Kennedy, it is estimated at 250-350.

    A nephew of Lady Gregory, Sir Hugh Lane established Dublin’s Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the first known public gallery of modern art in the world. He was among the victims of the Lusitania disaster in 1915.



    Friday, November 10th, 2017

    A collection of remarkable personal artefacts from the Yeats family will come up at Fonsie Mealy’s auction in Castlecomer on November 14.  The Yeats Family Collection – The Final Chapter,  includes paintings, letters and personal memorabilia.  Many of them have not been seen before.  The auctioneers say that this will be the last significant tranche of Yeats items to ever go to auction and that they offer a unique insight into Irish literary and artistic history through the eyes of the family.  This is a fine art sale of around 800 lots in total. It will feature Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian furniture; silver, clocks, militaria, carpets, light fixtures, musical instruments; stained glass and paintings including a selection of modern Irish Art. The catalogue is online.  Here is a small selection:

    (See post on for November 2, 2017)

    Yeats (William Butler) 1865-1939. A small pocket Sketch Book, morocco-
    backed, 18cms x 10cms about 50 pp good quality paper, clearly inscribed inside front cover in the poets hand, W.B. Yeats (3,000-5,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 17,000 AT HAMMER

    Rossanagh, Ashford, Co. Wicklow A very early and rare 19th Century Architects wooded Model, of the 3 storey early 18th Century red brick mansion (1,500-2,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,200 AT HAMMER

    Irish Georgian style mahogany triple top fold-over Tea & Card Table, by Robert Strahan & Co., Dublin (2,000-3,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,200 AT HAMMER

    The Yeats family harp (1,500-2,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE 11,000 AT HAMMER


    Sunday, August 27th, 2017
    All that remains of the house at Coole Park – home to Lady Gregory and forever associated with the Irish literary renaissance – is the plinth on which it once stood.  Two pastels of the vanished house by the poet WB Yeats will come up at Sotheby’s sale of 220 lots of the Yeats family collection in London on September 27.
    Like the rest of his siblings the poet WB Yeats was a trained artist. He dearly loved this house and the grounds on which it stood, now a nature reserve. His poem The Wild Swans at Coole was inspired by this landscape near Gort and he described it as “the most beautiful place in the world”.
    The most expensively estimated lot in the sale is the long series of letters he wrote to Olivia Shakespear, his life long friend and first lover, which is estimated at £250,000-350,000.  The Runaway Horse is the most valuable of the 35 artworks by Jack B Yeats and is estimated at £150,000-250,000.  Many lots from among the personal effects of John Butler Yeats and his children, poet WB, embroidery designer Lily, printing press pioneer Lolly and artist Jack, have much more affordable estimates.
    Among these is a textile by Lily illustrating The Lake Isle of Innisfree (£1,500-2,500), the Yeats family dining table acquired by WB with money awarded when he won the Nobel Prize in 1923 (£1,500-2,500), a portrait by WB’s muse and sometimes lover Maud Gonne of her daughter Iseult (£2,000-3,000), Jack’s artist palette (£200-300), WB’s late 19th century Canton chess set (£2,500-3,500), the Yeats family scrapbook with 47 drawings by William, Jack, Lily and Lolly (4,000-6,000) and a handmade boat by the Poet Laureate John Masefield (£700-900).

    Highlights will be on view at the RHA Gallery in Dublin from September 14-16 and viewing in London gets underway on September 22.  The auction on September 27 is on the same day at Sotheby’s annual Irish art sale.

    Coole, coloured pastels by William Butler Yeats (£7,000-10,000) UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £43,750

    WB Yeats Writing Bureau, England 18th century (£20,000-30,000)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £187,500

    Jack Butler Yeats – William Butler Yeats reading in the garden Bedford Park (£8,000-12,000)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £30,000

    The Yeats family dining table (England 20th century) 1,500-2,500.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £8,000 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, May 25th, 2017

    Irish, English and international literature, first editions, signed editions, periodicals,  photographs, GAA and other sporting memorabilia will come under the hammer at Fonsie Mealy’s auction at the Tara Towers Hotel in Dublin on May 30. The sale will include an original manuscript page  from Finnegan’s Wake and first editions by James Joyce as well as Mosada, the first work by William Butler Yeats of which only 500 copies were printed. There is a first edition of John le Carre’s The Spy who came in from the Cold and a number of Harry Potter editions signed by J.K. Rowling and the cast of the films.

    Sporting memorabilia includes a Co. Laois first and only All Ireland Hurling Final medal from 1915, a Co. Louth twelve medal collection awarded to Johnny Brennan who retired as a player in 1916, match programmes from the 1930’s to the 1950’s and a ticket to the infamous 1920 Bloody Sunday match at Croke Park.  The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection:

    The Louth GAA Medal collection awarded to Johnny Brennan 1905-1915 (15,000-20,000) UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    The rugby ball reputed to have been used in 1948 when Ireland beat Wales to claim their first Grand Slam. (700-900)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 500 AT HAMMER

    A first (1938) edition of The Green Fool by Patrick Kavanagh (1,000-1,500)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,000 AT HAMMER

    A first edition of Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two Birds (1,750-2,500)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,200 AT HAMMER

    The Tailor of Gloucester (1903) and other early Beatrix Potter editions (600-700)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 500 AT HAMMER

    A silver gilt Cumann na mBan lapel badge by Long, Cork (250-320) UPDATE: THIS MADE 400 AT HAMMER

    All Ireland Hurling Final programme for 1946 (300-400)  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 200


    Sunday, May 10th, 2015

    The Irish National League banner with a portrait of Parnell.

    The Irish National League banner with a portrait of Parnell.

    A love token and the nationalism of Lady Wilde, Oscar’s mother, proved to be important associations at Whyte’s sale of history and literature in Dublin on May 9. The harp gifted to Maud Gonne by W.B. Yeats sold for a hammer price of 37,000.  Yeats would give recitals of his poems accompanied by Maud Gonne on the harp.  The sale grossed 220,000 and 80% of lots on offer sold.

    The reverse with the embroidered inscription.

    The reverse with the embroidered inscription.

    A Parnellite  marching banner with a distinctive literary connection made a hammer price of 8,000.  The hand painted banner is embroidered with a line from a poem by Speranza, the pen name of Lady Wilde.  It reads:  “Never Country Gained Her Freedom When She Sued On Bended Knee”.  The hand painted and gilt embroidered banner is from  the Carrickedmond, Co. Longford branch of the Irish National League.  The league was founded by Parnell in 1882 to replace the Irish National Land League, which had been suppressed.

    Online sales accounted for one third of the lots sold. Bidders from Ireland competed with bidders in the UKUSACanadaAustriaBelgiumDenmarkFranceGermanyHungaryItalyMaltaNorwayPolandRussian FederationChinaHong KongAustralia and South Africa.

    (See post on for April 11, 2015).


    Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

    The 137th annual exhibition of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club now on at Dun Laoghaire County Hall includes some paintings inspired by the poetry of W.B. Yeats to coincide with the 150th anniversary of his birth. W.B’s father, John Butler Yeats was an early member of the club, which was founded in 1874.  Close to 300 works, oil and watercolour paintings, acrylics and pastels, lithographs, etchings and drawings, are being shown. They include landscapes, seascapes, still life, animal, floral and life studies, botanical works, streetscapes and architectural studies in representational, contemporary and abstract treatments.  It is one of Ireland’s largest group shows.  Sponsored by auctioneers Whyte’s it runs to April 26. Here is a small selection:

    When you are old by Janetta Mellet

    When you are old by Janetta Mellet

    The Wild Swans at Coole by Kate Bedell

    The Wild Swans at Coole by Kate Bedell

    Sailing to Byzantium by Aidan Hickey.

    Sailing to Byzantium by Aidan Hickey.

    Bold Hares and Beech Leaves by Betty Christie.

    Bold Hares and Beech Leaves by Betty Christie.


    Saturday, April 11th, 2015

    The Harp given to Maud Gonne by W.B. Yeats.

    The Harp given to Maud Gonne by W.B. Yeats.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 37,000 AT HAMMER.

    A harp given by the poet W.B. Yeats to Maud Gonne, the English born Irish revolutionary he fell in love with, is among the lots at Whyte’s sale of History, Literature and Collectibles in Dublin  on May 9.  After rejecting at least four proposals from Yeats she married Major John MacBride in 1903.  The marriage did not last. John MacBride was executed in 1916 along with James Connolly and other leaders of the Easter Rising.

    Maud Gonne MacBride in turn gave the harp to her friend Síle MacCurtain who had started a school for harpists in Cork. Síle MacCurtain was a daughter of Tomás MacCurtain, 1916 Rising commandant in County Cork and later IRA Brigade commander and Lord Mayor of Cork who was killed in 1920.  The harp was made by Frederick Grosjean, a French maker working in London in the early 19th century.  It is estimated at 10,000-15,000. (UPDATE:  This sold for 37,000 at hammer).

    The sale will offer much memorabilia of the 1916 Rising, in particular relating to the rising at Enniscorthy, among around 500 lots on offer.