1. WB Yeats’ writing bureau
The Sotheby’s sale will offer William Butler Yeats’ writing bureau which he used to write some of his most memorable verse and much of his correspondence. Estimate: £20,000–30,000.
2. The family dining table
The Yeats family dining table will be one of the items of furniture on offer at the sale. The 20th century piece was acquired by WB Yeats with the money awarded to him from winning the Nobel Prize in 1923. Estimate: £1500-2500.
3. Handwritten letters
A collection of over 130 handwritten letters between WB Yeats and Olivia Shakespear carries the highest estimate of all the lots in the Sotheby’s sale. The latter was subject of Yeats’ early love poems, but Olivia and William’s erotic relationship later developed into an important and stable friendship. Following her death, he commented: “For more than forty years she has been the centre of my life in London”. Estimate £250,000–350,000.
4. Personalised silver box
Among the more affordable lots at Sotheby’s sale of the Yeats collection is this piece of personalised silver given to WB Yeats by his future wife George. The silver box is inscribed ‘Willy from George / July 1915’ and is estimated at £100-120.
5. John Butler Yeats' self portrait
The Sotheby’s sale will include numerous drawings by John Butler Yeats but also the final self portrait made by the artist in 1911. The picture was commissioned by the New York lawyer and art collector John Quinn. Estimate £30,000-50,000.
6. Runaway Horse
The most valuable of the 35 works by Jack Butler Yeats in the Sotheby’s sale is ‘The Runaway Horse’ from 1954. One of his final pictures, the oil on board depicts a golden-haired child playing and exemplifies how youthful memory became the artist’s choice of subject during his later period. Estimate:£150,000-250,000.
7. Jack’s Pencil Box
A wooden pencil box owned by Jack Butler Yeats which he decorated with a pirate theme, including a skull and crossbones, is on offer at the Sotheby’s sale. It also features the artist’s monogram. Estimate £3000–5000.
8. Lily Yeats’ embroideries
Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats trained in the embroidery workshop of William Morris’s daughter May and examples of her craft feature in the Sotheby’s sale. One of the lots on offer features three embroideries (one shown here) and is estimated at £3000-5000.
9. Family Life
A group of sketches of family life by John Butler Yeats, including pictures of WB Yeats as a baby and child and the children being read a story by their mother Susan, will feature in the Sotheby’s sale. Estimate: £5000-7000.
10. Top Hat
Jack Butler Yeats’ collapsible silk top hat is another of the 220 lots at the Sotheby’s sale. Estimate £500–700.