CollectionBeatrice Esther ('Bea') Orpen
Collection DescriptionBeatrice 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 [NGI].
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Collection contains sketches, life drawings, a sketchbook and a large selection of designs by Bea Orpen (1913 – 1980). The life drawings and pencil sketches were created while Bea Orpen was a student in 1932 & 1934. Her commercial work is evident in the designs for greeting cards, menu cards, ex libris plates, book tokens, calendars, medals, whiskey labels, tea towels for the Irish Country Women’s Association, for Charles Gallow & Co Ltd, and work for various other businesses (incl. John Fothergill’s Hotel and The Three Swans). A portion of the design work featured in this collection was created in the 1960’s.

Trench/Orpen Family Gift, 2019.

AccessBy prior appointment.
Repository NameNational Gallery of Ireland Library
AddressMerrion Square West Dublin 2
EircodeD02 K303
Telephone(01) 663-3543
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