The artist Jack Butler Yeats was born in London in 1871. Yeats was the youngest child of the painter John Yeats and brother of the poet W. B. Yeats.
As a child, he lived with maternal grandparents William and Elizabeth Pollexfen at Merville House and later at Charlemont House which overlooks Sligo harbour. The Pollexfens were wealthy ship owners.
Known today as Markievicz House
Yeats developed a deep respect for the folk traditions and sea-faring heritage of the west of Ireland.
Yeats returned to live with his parents in London in the late 1880s and attended the Chiswick School of Art. There he met his future wife, fellow artist Mary Cottenham White (Cottie), the couple married in 1894.
Many of Yeats’s paintings depict memories of his Sligo childhood. The painting called The Riverside (Long Ago) was painted in 1922 and depicted an area in Sligo Town known as The Riverside. It is located on the east side of the town at Abbeyquarter, on the banks of the Garavogue River, where boats could be hired to row up the lake and visit the many islands on Lough Gill.
Jack and Cottie were married for over fifty years until Cottie’s death in 1947. Jack passed away ten years later in 1957. The couple are buried together at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin.