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Jack B Yeats sketch to be sold

Picture of carousel horses drawn by Jack B Yeats, brother of the poet, to be sold by Bonhams in their first Irish art sale

A tiny, jaunty sketch of two fairground carousel horses, made when the Irish artist Jack B Yeats was on his deathbed, and given by him to the matron of the hospital where he died, is to be sold for the first time by her family.

Yeats, brother of the poet, and son of the portrait painter John Yeats, loved horses, fairgrounds and circuses – a world captured in his last work, sketched in pen and ink on a piece of writing paper just two days before his death on 28 March 1957.

In 1999 Yeats became the first 20th century Irish artist to break the million pound barrier at auction, when his The Wild Ones sold at Sotheby's for £1.2m.

The poignant little drawing, just 5x4 inches, is more modestly estimated at up to £2,000, and will be sold by Bonhams in their first Irish art sale in London next month.

Jack Yeats was born in London, but his early work drew heavily on the landscape and characters of the west of Ireland, around his childhood home with his grandparents in Sligo, immortalised in vivid drawings of shops and pubs, turf diggers and postmen, published as hand coloured prints by his sisters' Cuala press.

His later more abstract style, in heavy oil impasto, won him recognition as the leading Irish artist of the 20th century. He also wrote poetry and plays, and his father not only acknowledged him as much his superior as an artist, but also believed he would be remembered as a better poet than his brother. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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