William Orpen: Method & Mastery - Reviews by pupils from Guildford County and Rodborough School

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Posted 11th December 2019

William Orpen: Method & Mastery - Reviews by pupils from Guildford County and Rodborough School

As part of Kids in Museums Takeover Day on 22 November 2019, students from Guildford County and Rodborough School shared their interpretations of our latest exhibition, William Orpen: Method & Mastery. Keep reading to find out more about the exhibition through their wonderful insights.

Convex Mirror and William Orpen's Brushes

'Just experienced a one in a life time sight. The William Orpen (an official war artist) super pieces of work. Me and my fellow class mates saw and drew William Orpen's original paint box and palette. I was really moved by hearing all his unique experiences. We also saw his studio easel and his convex mirror which was stunning. Next to this was the catalogue entry for 'the Orpen brush'.'

Le Chef de l'Hôtel Chatham, Paris

'William Orpen's work always showed the personality of the individual he was painting. For example, Le Chef de l'Hôtel Chatham, Paris. This Chef became famous after being portraited by Orpen. He went to England to work in a restaurant but decided to return after disliking English food. Orpen captures how hard working he is in this painting. I like this painting because it's really striking and inspirational.'

Dame Madge Kendal by Izzy from Rodborough

'At Watts Gallery, they display a painting of Dame Madge Kendal. It is a painting of an older woman for her 80th birthday. When posing for this painting, she asked William Orpen to take out her flaws, however he refused to remove them as he thought of them as characteristics not flaws.

William Orpen has many other paintings that also display the whole image and everything about them. His paintings are always very personalised and real.

In his war paintings he will also show all the realities and uses the truth of the war to create beautiful paintings.'

Homage to Manet by Emily

'William Orpen's work is always quite personalised and raw. His painting Homage to Manet was kind of a trial and error painting with many sketches before the final one. He still fixed it quite a bit. In the final one there is a big smudge when it seems he has removed a figure. Through all his sketches he has changed up the props used in the image and they changed from drinking wine to drinking tea. As the image progressed the amount of people around the table changed. In the end there was 6 people. By saying his paintings are raw I mean his paintings highlight all the wrinkles and 'flaws' very clearly.'

Anatomical Study, Male Torso

'William Orpen used this study to teach his anatomical classes. Orpen created this fantastic study using almost one continuous line. This study was based off the medical textbook 'Grey's Anatomy'. This artwork is different to all others in the exhibition.'

William Orpen: Method & Mastery is on display at Watts Gallery - Artists' Village until 23 February 2020.
Under 18s go free.

Click here to find out more about school visits.



Banner image: Dame Madge Kendal, c. 1927-8, William Orpen (1878-1931). Oil paint on canvas. Tate Britain, London. Photo © Tate.

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