Farmleigh Gallery Welcomes Two Exhibitions at ‘Orpens at Farmleigh’

The Office of Public Works and Farmleigh Gallery are delighted to announce the launch of ‘Orpens at Farmleigh’ on Wednesday, 14th March 2024, which features two exhibitions: 

  • Sir William Orpen: A Family Legacy, curated by Dominic Lee, Orpen Research Archives.
  • Goddard H. Orpen: The Vision of a 19th Century Lensman, curated by Jeremy Hill, Monksgrange Archives

Sir William Orpen: A Family Legacy

Throughout his career as an artist, Stillorgan-born artist Sir William Orpen’s work captured and epitomised a great deal about the Irish spirit. His work is exemplified by hospitality, endeavour, aspiration, and courage. Often described as the greatest of all war artists, Orpen’s skills as an artist and illustrator brought to life the world’s hopes for peace. His talent as a portraitist was also greatly appreciated by Edwardian society and a modicum of that inimitable talent was also shared by his close family.

The exhibition at Farmleigh Gallery brings together two distinct views of the Orpen family, both curated to reveal aspects of the family’s talents that are perhaps a little less well known.

In ‘A Family Legacy’, visitors will see a curated range of less well-known paintings together with memorabilia, drawings and illustrated letters by Sir William Orpen himself, along with watercolours by his father Arthur, and mother Annie, his brother Richard, sister-in-law Cherry, daughter Diana, niece Bea, and cousin, Thomas. 

Goddard H. Orpen: The Vision of a 19th Century Lensman

A recently discovered collection of glass plate negatives reveals an unexpected strand to the life of Dublin born Goddard Orpen (1852-1932). As an historian, archaeologist, poet and painter he demonstrated a keen sensibility to the physical world and was an inventive photographer who captured a very broad spectrum of life. Though far from being bohemian, he was neither conventional nor a guardian of morality. He celebrated modernism and became fascinated with scientific and technological progress. 

This exhibition of Orpen’s photography shows his wide-ranging interest in the world around him where his subjects were local, national and international. He had a keen eye for topographical detail displaying his skill and assurance. 

In documenting life in the home and on the farm, he created a sociological and historical record of his local community. His ethnographic images are rare and sympathetic examples of his interest in the cultural behaviours, mutual differences and practices of others.

Goddard Orpen was a humanist who understood the importance of imagination to the human condition. His camera work is a valuable addition to the history of Irish photography.

Venue: Farmleigh Gallery

Open: Tuesday to Sunday except for bank holiday Mondays

Opening times: 10.00am to 5.00pm – closed from 1.00 to 2.00pm

Dates: 15th March to 25th August 2024

Admission: Free