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`The Education Of Jack B. Yeats'

Jack B. Yeats's older brother was the poet W. B. Yeats. Their father was the portrait painter, John Butler Yeats. The following are excerpts from an article written by John B. Yeats that was published in the Nov. 20, 1920, Christian Science Monitor.

Let me tell my son's history. As soon as he left his nurse's arms he began to draw and he has continued to draw ever since. About his baby drawings two things were to be noticed. He never showed them to anyone. Also, his drawings were never of one object, one person or one animal, but of groups engaged in some kind of drama. For instance, one day I picked up one of his drawings and made out that there was a cab and two men and a telescope; one man looking through the small end and the other man looking through the large end. The telescope itself, which was of monstrous size, lying on the ground - and I asked what it meant, and was told that the man at the larger end was the cab man and that he was trying to find out what the other was looking at. At this time Jack's education had not got beyond learning his letters....

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Here is something which Jack once told me and which I think throws some light on what was Jack's idea of self-education. There is a river meandering through the town of Sligo spanned by two bridges. Beneath one of these bridges is a deep pool always full of trout. Jack told me that he has spent many hours leaning over that bridge looking into that pool and he regrets that he did not spend many more hours in that apparently unprofitable pastime.

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