Irish & International Online Art.  Morgan O’Driscoll 24th Oct 2023.

Lot: 2. Walking on Gold by William Orpen (1903).

See the transcription below.

Close-up section:

Size: 22 x 14.70cm (8.7 x 5.8 inches).
Frames size: 45.5 x 38cm (17.9 x 15 inches).

Estimate: €1,200-€1,800.

Letter transcription: (corrections welcome)

13, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, S.W. 12th.12- ‘3.

“My dear Everett (Herbert Everett).

I have no more photographs of my picture of your room. I think it must have been published in the December number of the Studio 1903  1901, (probably referring to the Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art). I was very pleased to hear that your exhibition has been a success, will you lend me money? I’m paid peanuts on all sides and I can’t get paid by Mrs E.  The Dowager who is going to join the forsaken ……… in the triumph of his return to Chicago.

The school is going on well, they have taken my splendid studios close here and all seems to work well at present. Several people have applied.

Let me know when you come up, I go north in a few days before Christmas and then return for March I hope. 

Kindest regards to Mrs. Everett.

Is Mrs Herbert settled in London?

Yours William O”


Study of a Male Nude by William Orpen (1896).

Lot: 60.

Size: 72.3 x 47 cm (28 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches).

Estimate: €10,000 – €15,000.

In this prize-winning drawing, a dark-haired young man, a model (possibly Italian) in the Metropolitan School of Art’s life drawing class, is depicted standing, in profile. Orpen has used light cross-hatching to indicate the musculature of the limbs, and also the curtain is used as a backdrop. The model leans slightly to the right, his right arm resting on a plinth covered with a cloth, while his left-hand rests on his hip. The pose created is termed ‘contrapposto’, a favourite amongst the sculptors of Classical Greece, and one that was revived during the Renaissance.

The ESK blind stamp on the present drawing indicates ‘Examined South Kensington’The South Kensington System was a national schools syllabus for the teaching of art across the country and Empire. It is likely that the present work was one of the three drawings Orpen submitted to the national schools prize that academic year, and for which he was awarded the Gold Medal.

Archibald de Montfort, Glensavage, Stillorgan (a gift from the artist)
Thence by descent to the present owner.

Born the same year as William Orpen, Archibald de Montfort (1878-1948) was a childhood friend and neighbour of the artist when Orpen was living with his family at Oriel House in Stillorgan. He was later ordained, de Montfort’s ministry was in County Cork.

Link to online auction:

Post by Dominic Lee, Orpen Research Archives.