Who was Yankel Feather?

A number of his works to feature in our December sale


Born in Liverpool in 1920, Feather would have had a difficult childhood, being the youngest of seven children in a family struggling against poverty, with his mother at the helm in light of his father’s absence. His difficult upbringing turned him towards painting and shaped him into the artist he would one day become.

Indeed, it was after numerous visits to the Walker Art Gallery following the death of his mother when he was just 14, that he first began painting, and thus found his escape from the hardship of his past.

Yankel Feather (1920 - 2009), Women Bathers of Hayle

Estimate £400-£600

Having served in the Highland Light Infantry during the Second World War, his early adulthood was a struggle to make ends meet whilst trying to pursue a career as an artist. In 1947, he met artist, Sir Terry Frost, the man who would play an important part in Feather’s own journey to become an established artist, both as a close friend and a critic of his work.   

The city of Liverpool also played a great part in Feather’s personal and professional identity. Here in the 1960s, he met fellow North West artist, L.S Lowry, and was inspired by his paintings of the industrial North West of England. Such pieces influenced his own paintings of working class Liverpool that depicted the likes of the Mersey dockside and industrial wastelands.  

Yankel Feather (1920 - 2009), Wild Horses on the Moors

Estimare £300-£500

In the 1960s and 70s, Feather became a well-known face on the Merseybeat scene, owning nightclubs that were regularly frequented by his famous friends; Cilla Black, The Beatles, and Brian Epstein, to name just a few. Feather was to covet one of his paintings that was slashed by John Lennon when being evicted from ‘The Basement’ coffee bar and club. His busy social life helped boost his professional profile around the Liverpool area, with Ringo Star being just one of the famous Liverpudlians who bought some of Feather’s work.

In 1977, he swapped urban Liverpool for the rocky cliffs of Cornwall, as he retired near his lifelong friend, Terry Frost. His later paintings were a far cry from the industrial Merseyside scenes and crowded dancehalls that he depicted in his earlier years whilst he was a club owner. Instead, he explored the dramatic Cornish landscapes and seascapes, as well as the beachfronts of southern seaside towns such as Brighton. Feather finally settled in Brighton, setting up a studio with his partner and painting mainly from memory. On Feather’s death in 2009 his remaining works remained in the studio until his partner’s passing earlier this year. 


Yankel Feather (1920 - 2009) Naked thinking on the Beach

Estimate £400-£600

Read more: can paintings by unknown artists be valuable? > 


Dawsons are pleased to be taking a number of Yankel Feather’s works from the studio to auction on Thursday 15thDecember within our December Fine Art, Antiques & Jewellery sale.

Viewings will be held at our Berkshire saleroom from 12th-14th December, 10am-5pm.

Do get in touch with us if you are interested in any of the lots within the upcoming sale.

We would love to hear from you

 0207 431 9445   info@DawsonsAuctions.co.uk