[Frederic Yates, English artist active in America.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Fredc Yates') to Mrs Oldham, describing in moving terms the funeral of Anne Oldham.

Frederic Yates [born Frederic Keeping] (1854-1919), English artist active in America before returning to England and settling in the Lake District [Anne Oldham]
Publication details: 
17 May 1895, on letterhead of 3a Portman Mansions, W. [London]
SKU: 22342

Yates studied in Paris before setting up a successful practice in San Francisco, also teaching there at the Art Student League. His portraits include the educator John Haden Badley and the only president of Hawaii, Sanford Ballard Dole. He returned to England in 1900, but was invited back to America to attend the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson and to paint his portrait. Wilson presented Yates with the flag that his hand rested on whilst he took his oath of office. The Oldham family moved in artistic circles, and Constance Oldham was John Ruskin's god-daughter and corresponded with him. Other papers suggest that the recipient was resident at Walpole, Chislehurst, Kent. 4pp, 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged. Folded once. A pencil note at the head of the first page gives the subject as the 'funeral of Anne Oldham'. A moving description of a Victorian funeral, beginning: 'My dear Mrs Oldham, | A short letter it shall be, but allow me this privilege of writing you. - You could not be at the service, but you will know how everyone was thinking of you and I thought you may like to hear from one outside of your family how nicely and quietly everything passed off'. He proceeds to describe the 'quietly conducted' service, on 'a beautiful peaceful afternoon'. After naming the pieces played by the organist he writes: 'Everyone sang. It was good to see your old manservant William there – and some of your other faithful ones – they came up and wished me “good day” but I could not remember exactly who they were.' He lists some of the mourners: 'Mr. Townsend and his little daughter – The Preby and his boy. - Mrs Thomas and one or two grand old heads these will remain in my memory.' He wishes he could make her 'feel the love and harmony of all present – The choir boys sang very well, rustic and primitive enough, their surplices blown by the wind in the open air as they put your dear one to her last resting place.' He ends, touchingly: 'God give you peace dear friend, I have some knowledge of your loss, and I loved her too'.