The charming fantasies of Anne Yeats

The charming fantasies of Anne Yeats Preparatory sketch for mural at The Unicorn Restaurant (1946). Watercolour and ink on paper; unframed: 12.5 x 36cm; ESB CSIA Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. © Estate of Anne Yeats, DACS London/IVARO Dublin, 2021. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland
Anne Yeats: The Everyday Fantastic

National Gallery of Ireland; Exhibition runs until 9 October 2022, Room 11

Admission free (book a free general admission ticket in advance)

Anne Yeats was the niece of Jack Butler Yeats, and those who have seen the tremendous show of his painting in the NGI should be sure not to miss this show devoted to her smaller but charming talents as a painter and designer. The children of great men often are disadvantaged by living in the shadow of a great man or woman. The children of the poets Yeats seem to have come well out of such a lottery. Michael Yeats, like his father, was a member of the senate, on the nomination of Fianna Fáil.

Design scheme

Her image for the design scheme of the Unicorn Restaurant in Merrion Row, which opened originally as an excellent venue run by refugee Austrians in war-time Dublin which was frequented by the advanced bohemian spirits of the day. This is a charming and playful image rather than an overpowering one in the way of the imaginations of her uncle and father.

Anne Yeats was the chief designer for the Abbey Theatre and founding member of Graphic Studio, and did a great deal of commercial design work. Her work is fluent and colourful and never lacking in charm. Her archive is now in the NGI and the selection of pieces on show makes a neat contrast to the work of her uncle elsewhere in the gallery.