John Butler Yeats (Irish 1839-1922)

Mrs Paget knitting

John Butler Yeats, Mrs Paget


Inscribed in brown ink l.r.: Mrs Paget, pencil on laid paper, recto, with a portrait of a gentleman verso

18 x 12.7 cm

By descent in the artist’s family until 2017

Henrietta (Etta) Paget, née Farr, was a painter, the daughter of statistician, William Farr. The Pagets, a family of artists and illustrators, were neighbours of the Yeats family in Bedford Park in west London in the 1890s. Etta and her sister Florence were members of a group called the Golden Dawn, who were involved with spiritualism and the occult. W.B. Yeats was also a member and Florence Paget was said to have had an affair with both W.B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw.

In 1879 Henrietta married a fellow artist Henry Marriott Paget, RBA, (1857-1936), a leading member of the Bedford Park circle of writers and artists. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1879-94. They had four children, one of whom, Dorothy, became an actress. Henry Paget was a painter of historical subjects and portraits and his portrait of W.B. Yeats is in the Ulster Museum. His paintings, especially his historical scenes, were illustrative rather than inspiring and he also painted mythological subjects. Paget worked as an illustrator for the ‘Sphere’ in Constantinople during the Balkan War of 1912-13.




Jenny Mitchell

Inscribed l.l. by Lily Yeats: Jenny Mitchell, pencil

25.3 x 17.8 cm

By descent in the artist’s family until 2017

Jenny Mitchell was the younger sister of Susan Mitchell, the poet and writer. Jennie travelled with Lily Yeats by boat from Ireland to England in 1890. She spent the next two years in Germany and Austria and on her return journey to Ireland she visited the Yeats family in Bedford Park, London, when she was twenty four which is probably when the present drawing was made. Yeats sketched his many guests and shows her sitting in a relaxed and natural pose. 

In later life Jenny Mitchell published a number of stories and was a companion to her sister Susan, who lived with the Yeats family in Bedford Park from 1897-99, and whose oil portrait was painted by J.B. Yeats.