Letters from William Orpen to Grace Orpen (née Knewstub)


File includes 379 letters from the artist William Orpen to his wife Grace. They begin in the early years of the couple's courtship in 1899, and continue for much of their married lives, ending in 1929, two years before William Orpen's death in 1931. Grace is addressed by her maiden name Knewstub in all early correspondence. A significant proportion of the letters have been illustrated by the artist and add a visual element to his narrative descriptions. Correspondence content includes discussions of domestic matters as the couple begin their married lives, and subsequently raise their daughters. Orpen's professional work and life is recorded as he writes to Grace from various locations across Ireland and England as he undertakes commissioned portraits. His work with the Yorke family, Hughes family, Lumb family, and Vere Foster family is particularly well represented with a file of correspondence to Grace concerning each family. Orpen's travels in Europe for work and leisure are also recorded, including his trip to France and Spain with art collector Hugh Lane in 1904. In addition, William Orpen's years as a war artist are well represented with a file of over 70 letters, which document his experiences and perceptions of war, as well as his encounters with notable figures in the Allied forces during the war period, and afterwards at the Paris Peace Conference.


Orpen, Sir William, 1878-1931

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Orpen, Sir William, 1878-1931

Record data
TitleLetters from William Orpen to Grace Orpen (née Knewstub)
CreatorOrpen, Sir William, 1878-1931
LocationCentre for the Study of Irish Art
RefIE NGI/IA/ORP1/5/1/1/7
FormatManuscript, Drawing
Extent379 items

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