‘The Poet’ by William Orpen R.A., R.H.A. including some studies. The models are possibly Sean Keating – Orpen’s assistant at the time (he was also a student of Orpen’s at The Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin) and Evelyn St. George – Orpen’s lover.

‘The Poet‘ by William Orpen (circa 1915).     

Interior of the Artist’s Studio, with a lady seated listening to a gentleman reading from a book.

Medium : Oil on Canvas : 43.25 x 33.75 inches (110 x 85.5 centimeters).

Signed : Upper Right ‘ORPEN’ (Black).

Current Location : Private Collection.

Study (No. 1) by Orpen for ‘The Poet’.


Study (No. 2) by Orpen for ‘The Poet’.


Study (No.3) by Orpen for ‘The Poet’.

Provenance : Sold for £600, 1921.

Mrs. St. George Sale, Sotheby’s, 26th July 1939, lot 95.

Vivien Stanley-Clarke, later Wynch (Evelyn St. George’s daughter by William Orpen).

Anthony Stanley-Clarke.

Pyms Gallery.

Exhibited : N.E.A.C. 1921.

N.E.A.C. Centenary Exhibition 1986, No. 143.

Pyms, Irish Renascence, 3rd to 29th November 1986.

Literature : Konody, Paul and Dark, Sidney, Sir William Orpen, 1932, page 272.

Mrs. St. George Sale, Sotheby’s, 26th July 1939, Catalogue, lot 95, page 31 (Illustrated plate XIV).

Pyms, Irish Renascence, 1986, Exhibition Catalogue, pages 72 – 75 (Illustrated in Colour page 75).

The man is almost certainly Sean Keating and the woman may possibly be Mrs. St. George, which could explain why she acquired the picture. However, it does not explain why she did not buy the picture first off, obtaining it later, probably in 1921, when her relationship with Orpen was apparently beginning to cool, and secondly why it was entered in the Mrs. St. George Sale when the other family pictures were not. However, it could explain why it was bought back into the family. The features of the model do bear some resemblance to Mrs. St. George. The Crest above the man does not appear to be the Orpen Family Crest.

Orpen’s Studio Book Reference : 33/15 – 1921.

Cara Copland Reference : S05:21.


Post by Dominic Lee.