London: A treasure trove of family treasures, including hundreds of passionate, rueful and philosophical letters written by the Irish poet W.B. Yeats will go on public display for the first time, before being sold in an auction here, the media reported.
The lot will go on display first att the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin from September 14 to 16, and at London’s Sotheby’s from September 22 to 26, before the sale on September 27.
The display includes books, paintings, furniture and personal possessions belonging to all the members of the extraordinarily artistic family, whose lives and work were also woven into the history of 20th century Ireland, reports the Guardian.
The material includes not just the letters from the Nobel laureate poet but also his hair brushes, many works by his painter brother Jack.B. Yeats, an important group by their artist father, John.B. Yeats, including family portraits and his last self-portrait, and original artworks and embroidery designs by the poet’s sisters, Lolly and Lily.
Among the highlights are more than 130 handwritten letters to W.B. Yeats’s first lover, Olivia Shakespear.
The letters survived in the collection because, after Shakespear’s death, her son-in-law, the poet Ezra Pound, returned all the originals, the Guardian reported.
The letters are estimated to sell for up to 350,000 pounds ($451,000), according to Sotheby’s.
This is likely to be the last sale of such a large and intimate Yeats collection.
It follows the death in 2007 of the poet’s son Michael, who became an Irish senator and MEP, and also the sale of his home in Dalkey, on the outskirts of Dublin.
In a statement, the Yeats family said: “Our family has enjoyed these items for many years. We are delighted that they will now be exhibited and available for everyone to see in Dublin and in London and for collectors to have the opportunity to acquire their own piece of Irish history.” (IANS)