‘Sowing The Seed’, a study, a reproduction, the final version, an original study and a letter of explanation by William Orpen to R D Elliott.

The B&W photogravure print ‘Sowing The Seed’ from a Portfolio of ten reproductions of works by William Orpen printed under his personal supervision is for auction at White’s Dublin. 

Size: 10.75 by 7 inches (27.3 by 17.8cm).

Signed in the plate used for printing.

Condition: Corners scuffed, one tear in lower left corner. some staining lower right. Image itself is in very good condition, some creasing visible on close inspection along left edge.

Whyte’s Dublin Spring Online Art Auction (link below).

Lot: 127.

Auction ends: Mar 1, 2021 @ 6 PM GMT.

Estimate: €250 – €350. UPDATE: SOLD €220 (Hammer price).


The Original colour study:

The colour version which was used (with added detail) to make the limited reproduction prints.


The final painting ‘Sowing New Seed’.

Sowing New Seed (for the Board of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland).

By Sir William Orpen KBE RA RI RHA (1878-1931).

Medium: oil on canvas (c.1913).

137 × 137 cm (53.9 × 53.9 inches)

Location: Mildura Arts Centre, Australia.


An early study for the painting.

Orpen signed his name backwards – NEPRO


A letter from Orpen to Robert Charles Dunlop Elliott (1884 – 1950), businessman, newspaper owner and senator explaining the meaning of the painting ‘Sowing New Seed’. Elliott donated the painting along with many others to the City of Mildura.



Link to Whyte’s auction:


Post by Dominic Lee, Orpen Research Archives.