1866-1949 [Lily; her fathers favourite]; b. Enniscrone, nr. Sligo; elder sister of W. B. Yeats; taught art to school-children; suffered year-long illness from typhoid fever, 1896-97; found work in London as embroideress under May Morris, and later her assistant; invited to join Evelyn Gleeson in Dun Emer arts and crafts workshop, 1900 (on death of her mother Susan), and worked thereafter for Dun Emer Guild, managing the embroidery section; left Dun Emer with Lolly to found Cuala Industries, Lwr. Churchtown Rd., living at Gurteen Dheas, Churchtown; produced writing and painting books; d. 5 Jan. 1949.
[ top ]
Gifford Lewis, The Yeats Sisters (IAP 1994); Joan Hardwick, The Yeats Sisters: A Biography of Susan and Elizabeth Yeats (London: Pandora 1996), 271pp., 16 ills.; Maureen Murphy, ed., I Call to the Eye of the Mind: a Memoir of Sara Hyland (Dublin: Attic Press 1996), 204pp. [memories of working for the Yeats sisters from 1908].
[ top ]
According the W. B. Yeats, his sister Susan was sensitive, deep-feeling, but undemonstrative ... she always considered Sligo the most beautiful place in the world. (Autobiographies [q.p.])
Sarah Rigby, review of Joan Hardwick, The Yeats Sisters, in London Review of Books, 18 July 1996, p.20-21, quotes J. B. Yeats, of Lily and Lolly, in a letter to W. B. Yeats, objecting to W. B. Yeatss phrase enraged family in his Dial memoir of family life, later altered to troubled family in Four Years: they were too busy to be enraged about anything, Lily working all day at the Morrises, and Lolly dashing about giving letures on picture painting and earning colseo on 300 pounds a year, and one year more than 300, while both gave all their earnings to the house. And besides all this work, of course, they did the housework and had to contrive things and see to things for their invalid mother - and all this while quite young girls
they paid the price of having a father who did not earn enough. (p.20.)
[ top ]
In thrall?: Lily is considered by Joan Hardwick to have been the more in thrall of the two sisters to her brother Willie, and therefore inclined to accept his critical attitude to Lolly. (The Yeats Sisters; reviewed by Mary Campbell, Books Ireland, Dec. 1996).
Portrait in oil by John Butler Yeats [NGI]; and note, her embroidery sketch of the Abbey, in the possession of Cyril Cusack, was displayed at the Yeats Centenary Exhibition of the National Gallery of Ireland, 1965.
[ top ]