Beatrice Esther (‘Bea’) Orpen (1913-1980)


Collection contains two individual archival collections, the first comprising four sketchbooks created by Orpen, and three literary books published by members of the extended Orpen family, all of which were purchased at Whyte's in 2018. The second collection comprises a sketchbook, a design portfolio, and loose sketches created by Orpen and relating to both her student days and her commercial work, donated by the Orpen/Trench Family in 2019. Beatrice Esther Orpen was born in Carrickmines in Dublin, 1913. She was the niece to Sir William Orpen though they had never met. Orpen studied art in the Metropolitan School of Fine Art, The Royal Hibernian Academy and Slade School of Fine Art. She excelled in design and decorative art and proceeded to study in in the School of Typography and trained in both textile and commercial design in the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts. She went on to create designs for a wide range of products such as posters, book jackets, tea towels and cards. Orpen created fine art works in goache and watercolour where she focused on landscapes. She had her first solo show in the Country Shop, St Stephen's Green, Dublin in 1939. Orpen exhibitied in the RHA annual show every year from 1934 to 1980 as well as the Watercolour Society each year from 1936 to 1980. Her prolific career also extended to showing in the Irish Exhibition of Living Art and the Exhibition of Modern Irish Art. She lived with her husband Chalmers Edward FitzJohn (‘Terry’) Trench in Drogheda and then Slane in Co. Meath where she taught art in a number of schools. They both founded the Drogheda Municipal. She was a co-founder for the Drogheda ICA and was president for a time. Retrospective exhibitions of her work were held at the Gorry gallery, Dublin (1981), and the Droichead arts centre, Drogheda (1995). She passed away in 1980.


Orpen, Beatrice Esther (‘Bea’) (1913–1980)

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Orpen, Beatrice Esther

Record data
TitleBeatrice Esther (‘Bea’) Orpen (1913-1980)
CreatorOrpen, Beatrice Esther (‘Bea’) (1913–1980)
LocationCentre for the Study of Irish Art
FormatDrawing, Painting, Print
Extent7 items

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Irish Art Archive (Irish Art Collections)Beatrice Esther (‘Bea’) Orpen (1913-1980)
IE NGI/IA/ORP2 This record