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Jack Yeats

3 of 17 portraits of Jack Yeats

© Estate of William MacQuitty

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Jack Yeats

by William MacQuitty
bromide fibre print, 1943
11 3/8 in. x 11 in. (290 mm x 280 mm)
Purchased, 1990
Photographs Collection
NPG x34808

Sitterback to top

  • Jack Yeats (1871-1957), Artist. Sitter in 17 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • William MacQuitty (1905-2004), Film producer, writer and photographer. Artist of 10 portraits.

Subject/Themeback to top

Events of 1943back to top

Current affairs

The War effort continues with women recruited to the Home Guard and Ernie Bevin introducing conscription of miners as coal output continues to flag.
There is panic when a new anti aircraft weapon is heard for the first time in London and 173 people die in the crush to enter an air-raid shelter at Bethnal Green tube station.

Art and science

Barnes Wallis's bouncing bomb is used during Operation Chastise - the Dam busters Raid - to destroy three dams in the Ruhr area of Germany. The raid was considered a success, knocking out hydroelectric power, cutting off the water supply to industry and causing devastation through flooding. The operation also, however, cost the allies many lives, and the bouncing bomb was not used again.


The invasion of Sicily is successful thanks to Operation Mincemeat, in which false documents were planted on the body of a dead airman to mislead Germany into thinking that the Allied target was Sardinia. The invasion led to the fall of Mussolini and Italy joining the Allies.
42,000 German civilians are killed in a firestorm in Hamburg caused by the Allied bombing in Operation Gomorrah.

Tell us more back to top

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Barbara Dickenberger

06 February 2019, 22:58


'I've never met anybody like him and he had a very cold attitude, his eyes were very chilly. And William B.Yeats' epitaph was: 'Cast a cold eye on life on death, horseman pass by', don't get tangled up in this nonsense, keep on your own ground, - and that is what he (Jack) did.'
'Jack was never a poseur at all. He was a down to earth character, who if he wanted to keep warm in his studio would put on his great big coat to keep warm. He was practical, very practical.'
'He was a buccaneer at heart. I could see him with a cutlass between his teeth, boarding ships and slashing about!'
'It was a certain magic in his head whereby these memories could flow onto the canvas with enormous rapidity, enormous rapidity!'
'I think even in large canvasses it never took him more than two days. And so if someone had come in it would have cut the flow completely, the thing would have stopped, it would not have worked, it was in his head! He didn't take the easel outside painting, it was all in his head and when he was ready to paint he painted very rapidly, I'm quite certain of that.'

- Did he ever describe that process to you? –

'Not a word I He never told anybody. It might have been a load of pixies or dwarfs that did the whole thing - he'd let them in and claimed their work. No!'
'I found him of enormous wisdom. He spoke very seldom, but when he did speak it was most useful to me.
I used to see him in Portobello Nursing Home, where he spent the winters, and I always brought a bottle of Sherry, and 3 weeks before he died I made my usual appearance and realizing he hadn't far to go, I said: 'Now Jack, imagine I'm a young man. I'm 18 and life is before me and I want you to tell me in one sentence, if possible, but not more than two what I should do'. So we drank our Sherry and after a long time he said: "Ah well !". But this happened to be the title of one of his books!'

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