Sir William Orpen – Stillorgan Exhibition Launch by Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. Minister for Art, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Sir William Orpen R.A., R.H.A. 1878-1931.

As William Orpen was born in Stillorgan I always felt it would be nice to honour his genius with an exhibition of some of his paintings and to erect a sculpture of him in the village.

The question was – where to house an exhibition that would remain open 7 days a week? And finance was naturally an issue.
Luckily, Ray Corey, the Manager of Stillorgan Village Shopping Center was equally enthusiastic and the result is 25 reproductions of Orpen’s work hanging on permanent display in the newly named Orpen Mall on the 1st floor of Stillorgan Shopping Center.

Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. Minister for Art, Heritage and the Gaeltacht kindly launched the exhibition which was attended by about 70 local business owners including the son of William Orpen’s chauffeur and some of Orpen’s descendants.

Part two of the project – to erect a sculpture of William Orpen in Stillorgan was announced at the exhibition launch and the Project Manager Dominic Lee of The Stillorgan Chamber of Commerce commissioned sculptor Rowan Gillespie from Blackrock to make the piece.

Rowan Gillespie created the Famine Memorial on The Quays (opposite the Financial Services Center, Dublin). If you walk among the Famine sculptures you will see the sponsors names on plaques on the ground and this is how the William Orpen Sculpture was funded.

All donations were made to The Stillorgan Chamber of Commerce, 19 Priory Office Park, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin, A94 H7A4.

UPDATE – The sculpture was unveiled by Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones (A collector of Orpen’s works) on 15th Sept. 2018 at The Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan.


Opening from Dominic Lee on Vimeo.


Photographs taken by William Barr, the son of William Orpen’s chauffeur and Vladimir Polivanov Priory Studios. Video by Rob Lee, Priory Studios.


Post by Dominic Lee, Orpen Research Archives.

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