Jack of All Trades


Jack B. Yeats

Jack of all Trades
Yeats’s Punch Cartoons and Illustrations by Irish Painters

28 July - 2 December 2012
National Gallery of Ireland
Admission free

An exhibition of Punch cartoons by Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) will open in the National Gallery of Ireland on Saturday, July 28, 2012. It brings together 56 of the Gallery’s collection of Yeats’s Punch cartoons which were published for the British weekly magazine under his pseudonym ‘W.Bird’.

Yeats established a career in London as a prolific and successful black and white journalistic illustrator, submitting regularly to publications such as Paddock Life, Ariel, Chums and Lika Joko. From 1910 to 1941, Yeats contributed more than 500 cartoons to Punch magazine. To the end of his life, Yeats never admitted that he was the Punch illustrator ‘W.Bird’. The Punch cartoons on display in this exhibition were purchased by the Gallery in 2004.

Pauline Swords, NGI Yeats Archivist and co-curator of the exhibition, says: “This exhibition provides a wonderful opportunity to highlight a little-known aspect of Jack Yeats’s career as an illustrator. His Punch cartoons offer an insight into the artist’s dry humour and fertile imagination, an aspect of his character that also manifested itself in his work as a painter.”

The exhibition is complemented by archive material from Yeats’s personal library and archive, including a number of works on loan from the National Library of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin. It also features original and published illustrations, and cartoons by other Irish artists: Richard Caulfield Orpen (1863-1938), William Crampton Gore (1871-1946), James Mahony (c.1816-1859), Henry Edward Doyle (1827-1892), Mathew James Lawless (1837-1864); Richard Thomas Moynan (1857-1906) and Harry Jones Thaddeus (c.1859-1929). These works illustrate the wider practice of commercial illustration by Irish painters.

The exhibition is curated by Pauline Swords (NGI Yeats Archivist) and Donal Maguire (NGI Administrator, Centre for the Study of Irish Art). A brochure is published to accompany the exhibition.

Jack of all Trades:
Yeats’s Punch Cartoons and Illustrations by Irish Painters
28 July - 2 December 2012.
Print Gallery. Admission free.

A series of talks on The World of Jack B. Yeats and Aspects of Irish Art continues daily in the Gallery during the summer months. See www.nationalgallery.ie/whatson