“ He loved strange thought”: W. B. Yeats and William Thomas Horton

  • Richard J Finneran
  • George Mills Harper


William Thomas Horton began to study oil-painting and chalk-drawing on October 3, 1893.1 He was twenty-nine years old and had already tried his hand in several fields. Horton was born in Brussels on June 27, 1864 and spent most of his childhood there; his family later moved to Brighton, where he attended the Brighton Grammar School. He then worked for a Brighton architect and studied building-construction at a local art school.


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  1. 1.
    Most of the biographical details in this essay are taken from William Thomas Horton (1864–1919): A Selection of His Work with a Biographical Sketch by Roger Ingpen (London: Ingpen and Grant, [1929]). There are comments on Horton in various studies of Yeats, including Joseph Hone, W. B. Yeats, 1865–1939, 2nd ed. (London: Macmillan, 1962), esp. pp. 281–82.Google Scholar
  2. Virginia Moore, The Unicom: William Butler Yeats’ Search for Reality (New York: Macmillan, 1954), esp. pp. 234–35.Google Scholar
  3. Earl Miner, The Japanese Tradition in British and American Literature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958), pp. 236–37.Google Scholar
  4. Giorgio Melchiori, The Whole Mystery of Art: Pattern into Poetry in the Work of W.B. Yeats (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960), esp. pp. 21–22.Google Scholar
  5. By far the most significant account is the lucid commentary on Horton’s art by D. G. Gordon and Ian Fletcher in W. B. Yeats: Images of a Poet (Manchester University Press, 1961), pp. 101–03.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    The unsigned note to the Horton materials in the Bodleian states that he also contributed to The Evergreen, but we have been unable to locate any of Horton’s work in either The New Evergreen: The Christmas Book of University Hall (1894) or The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal (1895–97).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    From a letter to Leonard Smithers, dated February-March 1896 in The Letters of Aubrey Beardsley, ed. Henry Maas, J. L. Duncan, and W. G. Good (Rutherford, Madison, and Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970), p. 115.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    This date is established by a letter to Bullen on June 27, 1902, in The Letters of W. B. Yeats, ed. Allan Wade (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1954), pp. 398–99.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    In an essay about “Yeats’ s Arabic Interests”, S. B. Bushrui maintains that “ The Way of the Soul not only provided Yeats with half of his title, but also influenced his working out of some of the ideas expressed in A Vision” (A. Norman Jefiares and K. G. W. Cross, eds., In Excited Reverie [New York: Macmillan, 1965], p. 302).Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    (See Herbert W. Schneider and George Lawton, A Frophet and a Pilgrim [New York: Columbia University Press, 1942], for a detailed account of Harris’s “incredible history”.)Google Scholar
  11. 2.
    An illustration to Matthew 7.14 in The Savoy, No. 2 (April 1896): 77.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert O’Driscoll and Lorna Reynolds 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J Finneran
  • George Mills Harper

There are no affiliations available

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