Trustees of the Gallery pre-1974.

Bea Orpen HRHA (1913–80)
Gouache, 23 x 33.7
Armagh County Museum; Butler Gallery; Crawford Art Gallery; Highlanes; County Museum, Monaghan; The Model; Waterford Municipal Art Collection
Gorry Gallery, Bea Orpen, HRHA, 1913 -80, Dublin 1981, Denise Ferran, Highlanes Gallery, Irish Art from Nathaniel Hone to Nano Reid; The Drogheda Municipal Art Collection in Context, Drogheda, 2006
In Ballysodare, Co. Sligo
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Bea Orpen was the niece of one of Ireland’s most important painters, William Orpen (1878–1931). She was born in Carrickmines, County Dublin and educated at Alexandra College, the DMSA and the Slade in London (1935–39). She showed a real talent for drawing and painting from life, winning first prize for decorative composition at the Slade in 1936. She studied typography in Fleet St. and textile design in the LCC Central School of Arts and Crafts and put this training to good use back in Ireland when she became actively involved with the Irish Countrywomen’s Association.Orpen travelled around the west coast and showed her landscape paintings of it at the RHA (1934–80) and WCSI from 1936 onwards. She also showed at the Irish Exhibition of living Art, the Oireachtas (1944 onwards) and in various solo shows. Her first solo exhibition was at the Country Shop, St. Stephen’s Green in 1939, others followed at the Grafton Gallery Dublin, in 1947 and 1954.Following her marriage to C.E.F. Trench and her move to Drogheda, the couple initiated the Drogheda Art Gallery and the Municipal Art Collection in June 1946, and worked to build it up until her death. She taught art in Drogheda and Dundalk and ran annual art courses for National Teachers at An Grianán, Termonfeckin, County Louth (1959 –77) and lectured widely on art, aiming to develop awareness of the visual arts at all levels. She sat on the Board of the National Institute of Higher Education from 1975–78 and was a member of the government’s stamp advisory committee (1977–80). Orpen visited Switzerland, Italy (where she painted views of Rome, Florence and Venice), Belgium, and as president of the ICA, she travelled to Perth (1974), and Nairobi.Her paintings are mainly of landscapes, primarily in watercolour and gouache and she did a number of book designs during her early career. A retrospective exhibition of her work was held after her death at the Gorry Gallery, Dublin (1981) and fourteen years later The Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda held another retrospective, organised by her husband.Bea Orpen’s favourite medium was gouache, a water-based medium which is often used in conjunction with watercolour, in comparison to which it is more opaque. In Ballysodare, Sligo is undated and is thought to have entered the collection through the South Tipperary Fine Arts Club, but the records do not offer any further information on its acquisition. Bea Orpen painted the landscape as she saw it, not adding elements to divert the eye, just faithfully exploiting the capacity of her medium. Nothing could be quieter than this image of a much-loved bathing spot on the Sligo coast. The picture was lent to Droichead Arts Centre for a Bea Orpen retrospective in 1995.