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Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1957)

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Jack Butler Yeats (b. London, 29 August 1871; d. Dublin, 28 March 1957), son of the Irish painter John Butler Yeats and younger brother of the poet William Butler Yeats, was a cartoonist, illustrator, writer and painter.

Born in London, he grew up in County Sligo with his maternal grandparents. He moved to London to live with his parents in 1887, and studied in various art schools, including Westminster School of Art. From 1888 he established himself as an illustrator on a variety of magazines, including the Boy's Own Paper and Judy. He illustrated his brother's book Irish Fairy Tales in 1892. He also wrote a diary column for Punch under the pseudonym "W. Bird", which from 1894 took the form of a sketchbook. He edited two monthly magazines, Broad Sheet (1902-1903) and A Broadside (1908-1915).

He started drawing comics in 1893, creating the Sherlock Holmes parody "Chubblock Homes" for Comic Cuts in 1893, which he developed into the first continuing serial comic strip. In 1894 it transferred to Funny Wonder. Another serial was "Signor McCoy", the adventures of a horse with a daisy in the corner of his mouth, for Big Budget, beginning in 1897, which inspired an act at the Olympia Circus. He also drew at least one comic strip in Irish in the 1900s.

Strips he illustrated included:

  • "Chubblock Homes" (Comic Cuts, 1893-94; Funny Wonder, 1894-97)
  • "Mary Jane's Sittywations" (Comic Home Journal, 1895; Puck, 1904)
  • "Mrs Spiker's Boarding House" (Funny Wonder, 1896)
  • "Hiram B. Boss" (Funny Wonder, 1897)
  • "Signor McCoy" (Big Budget, 1897)
  • "John Duff-Pie" (Big Budget, 1897)
  • "Little Boy Pink" (Big Budget, 1898)
  • "Ephraim Broadbeamer" (Funny Wonder, 1898)
  • "The Jovial Old Farmer" (Halfpenny Comic, 1898)
  • "Convict 9999" (Funny Wonder, 1899).
  • "Kiroskewero the Detective" (Big Budget, 1901)
  • "Sligo Slimpen & Fatty Freelance" (Halfpenny Comic, 1903)
  • "Skilly the Convict" (Jester and Wonder, 1904)
  • "Licketty Switch" (Jester and Wonder)
  • "Sandab the Sailor" (Puck, 1904)
  • "Dr Up-To-Dayte's Academy" (Puck, 1904)
  • "Dr Patent" (Puck)
  • "Roly Poly's Tours" (Comic Cuts)
  • "Fandango the Hoss" (Jester and Wonder, 1905)
  • "The Jester Theatre Royal" (Jester and Wonder, 1907)
  • "The Little Stowaways" (Puck, 1907)
  • "The Whodidit" (Comic Cuts, 1909)
  • "Carlo the Jester" (Comic Cuts, 1912)
  • "Jimmy Jog the Juggler" (Butterfly, 1914)
  • "Eggbert and Philbert" (Butterfly, 1915)
  • "Bill Bailey" (Butterfly)

He left comics in 1917 to concentrate on painting, initially living in Devon before returning to Ireland, living first in County Wicklow, finally in Dublin. His painting was expressionist and symbolist in style, and his favourite subjects were the Irish landscape, horses, the circus and travelling players. His father acknowledged Jack to be the greater artist. He was the first Irish artist to sell a piece for more than £1 millon, and is regarded as the most important Irish artist of the 20th century. He also wrote plays, experimental novels, children's books, and many essays.

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