Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers

The Old Cinema,
Chatsworth Street,
Co. Killkenny,
R95 XV05,

PSRA Registration No: 001687

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Tel: +353 (0)56 4441229
Fax: +353 (0)56 4441627



Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers, have assembled a collection of remarkable personal artefacts from the Yeats family, for what will be the last significant tranche of items to ever go to auction.

Over 200 lots of items, many of which have never been seen before, offer a unique insight into Irish literary and artistic history through the eyes of the Yeats family.

The items including paintings, letters and personal memorabilia will be auctioned on Tuesday November 14th in Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth Salerooms in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.

The Yeats Family Collection -The Final Chapter  will be available to view from Saturday 11th November.

Some of the notable items being offered include;

  • One of only two known signed and compiled sketchbooks to exist from W.B Yeats time in Art College in Dublin (1884-85)

The unique original fine ink sketch by John B. Yeats, reproduced in William B. Yeats’ first separate publication, ‘Mosada’. The superb drawing is characteristic of J.B Yeats at his very best, bringing out his twenty-year-old son’s vulnerability as well as his determination.

  • A monogrammed briefcase belonging to W.B. Yeats, which he subsequently gifted to his son Michael.

“Fonsie Mealy has a longstanding relationship with the Yeats family. To be charged with disposing of this collection, which is of huge importance to Irish history and culture, is a great honour. We expect some of the items, many of which have never been seen before, to generate a lot of interest,” Says George Fonsie Jnr. of Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers.

Other significant items of memorabilia include;

  • A poignant photograph of Maud Gonne, from W.B.’s collection.
  •  RDS badges belonging to W.B. and his wife Georgina.
  • A pair of W.B.’s optical glasses.
  • Dozens of portrait drawings from W.B. Yeats, completed in a style similar to that of his father, John Butler Yeats.
  • Miscellaneous items; art college studies, a poem (thought to be unpublished), a draft telegram, a list of names and other jottings are to be included.
  • Original watercolour drawing by Norah McGuinness, for a printed invitation to Anne Yeats  21s  birthday.

Personal effects from the women of the Yeats family also feature strongly;

  • A set of Tarot cards designed by Pamela Colman Smith, thought to belong to Georgina, wife of W.B. Yeats.
  • A group of watercolour flower studies by Elizabeth Pollexfen, W.B. Yeats grandmother.
  • Two fine embroidered panels by W.B.’s sister Lily Yeats
  • Watercolours by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats (‘Lolly’).
  • Watercolour landscape by W.B. Yeats mother Susan Pollexfen (later Mrs. J.B. Yeats).
  • Attractive drawings by Jack’s wife Cottie, whose work is rare.

Items with great appeal for collectors include;

  • A carved block of green Connemara marble, engraved with Jack Yeats’ monogram thought to be a memento of a visit to Lady Gregory at Coole.
  • Japanese coloured woodcuts from Jack’s collection.
  • A large cardboard  sheet on which Jack Yeats has listed the contents of a seven-drawer chest,  including his paintings, watercolours, sketchbooks and so on.

Household items and furniture that graced the houses of the Yeats families such as Georgian furniture, family silver, bureau bookcase, grandfather clock, and musical instruments including the family harp are also part of the assembly.

The Yeats Family Collection – The Final Chapter will be available for viewing from Saturday

11th November in Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth Salerooms, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.

The collection will go to auction on Tuesday, November 14th.

To view the online catalogue visit

Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers, Chatsworth Street, Castlecomer, telephone 056-4441229, or online at

For further information, please contact:

Bridget O’Dea, Purcell Masterson, 0831717950 /



  • A series of four inscribed costume drawings by Edward Gordon Craig for W.B.Y.’s play The Hour-Glass
  • An unusual green silk cloak lined in white, which is believed to relate to the rituals of the Order of the Golden Dawn (not to be disclosed to non-members)
  • A collection of hand-coloured prints from the Cuala Press will also feature.
  • An elegant pair of optical glasses belonging to the wife of J.B. Yeats, ‘Cottie’, Mary Cottenham Yeats.
  • Personal Linen and material embroidered by Cuala Industries
  • A large print by the Austrian painter Oscar Kokoschka, inscribed by Kokoschka himself to his Irish friend Jack Yeats.
  • A fine drawing by the ‘Punch’ artist Phil May from Jack’s personal collection.


  • A portfolio of his family sketches, featuring various aunts, uncles and cousins, and many, many drawings of his long-suffering wife Susan.
  • A sketch, probably unique, of Lady Gregory’s only son,  Robert, who died in his aeroplane over Italy in the dying  days of World War 1.
  • A fine coloured drawing of his daughter Lily.
  • Drawings of the old Fenian John O’Leary and of Jack Yeats’ collaborator Pamela ‘Pixie’ Colman Smith.

About Fonsie Mealy: Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers are Ireland’s leading specialist Auction House, recognised nationally and internationally as specialists in Irish historical artefacts, rare books, fine art, paintings, furniture, silver, sporting memorabilia, manuscripts and maps.


The Murnaghan Collection, for the Executors of the late Mrs Alice Murnaghan.

Luggala, on the instructions of Barbican Corporation, for the Right Hon. Garech Browne.

Mount Congreve, for the Executors of the late Mr. Ambrose Congreve.

Fort William, Lismore, on the instructions of Mrs. Sara Agnew.

Furness, Naas, on the instructions of Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Guinness.

The family firm was founded in 1934 and is now overseen by Father and Son team, Fonsie and George Fonsie. They are still located in their original Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny premises.