• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7595

    20th Century British Art

    6 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 32

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

    Portrait of William Nicholson

    Price Realised  


    Sir William Orpen, R.H.A., R.A. (1878-1931)
    Portrait of William Nicholson
    signed, inscribed and dated 'William Nicholson by William/Orpen/April 6th 09.' (lower right), inscribed and dated again 'Flying Patience Scores/at 13 Royal Hospital Rd./April 6th 09' (on the reverse)
    7½ x 4½ in. (19 x 11.4 cm.)
    There are further drawings on the reverse of the sheet depicting William Nicholson, Mrs Grace Orpen, Mrs Mabel Nicholson, Hugh P. Lane and William Orpen.

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    This work gives us a rare glimpse of Orpen relaxing with his friends, the Nicholsons and Lanes. The Nicholsons were perhaps William and Grace Orpen's closest family friends between about 1906 and 1909, with the families sharing holidays together in Margate, and the two artists sharing Orpen's studio. One can easily imagine the atmosphere in the drawing room at Orpen's family home, 13 Royal Hospital Road, the friends sitting around playing cards, a family favourite, 'Flying Patience', otherwise known as 'Flying Daggers'. The ever-sketching Orpen headed up the score sheet with little thumbnail sketches of the participants, William Nicholson and his wife Mabel, Hugh Lane, and himself and his wife Grace. Orpen also painted William Nicholson and his family in A Bloomsbury Family, 1907 (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh).

    This work will be included in the catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Christopher Pearson of the Orpen Research Project.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    The artist, and by descent to the present owner.