Orpen Family Correspondence


The majority of the correspondence is comprised of letters sent by William Orpen to Grace Orpen. These 379 letters begin in the early years of their courtship in 1899 and continue throughout their marriage until William Orpen's death in 1931. Topics discussed span a variety of subjects, including domestic life; William Orpen’s daily life and work when teaching at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin; his life when travelling and working in England and elsewhere in Europe; his time in France during the First World War as a war artist, and subsequently in Paris, when employed to record the Paris Peace Conference. Letters also contain references to the paintings he is working on, his sitters, future commissions, as well as his sales. A significant proportion of these letters are illustrated by Orpen himself. Letters to Grace Orpen from other correspondents also feature and chart family life, her social circle and friendships, as well as her husband's career and death. Letters to William Orpen include correspondence from fellow artists, mentors, and the War Office. The couple recieved only two telegrams jointly. Letters to Christine 'Kit' Orpen concern the publication of a commemorative stamp in 1978 by An Post, to mark the centenary of William Orpen’s birth. Her correspondence also concerns the gifting of a series of William Orpen letters to the National Gallery of Ireland; and the publication of Mary Lago’s edited collection of correspondence between Max Berrbohm and John Rothenstein. Letters are arranged as follows: Letters to Grace Orpen (née Knewstub); Letters to William Orpen; Letters to William and Grace Orpen jointly; Letters to Christine 'Kit' Orpen.

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Record data
TitleOrpen Family Correspondence
LocationCentre for the Study of Irish Art
FormatManuscript, Drawing
Extent453 items

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