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William Orpen Slideshow by Dominic Lee, Priory Studios

There are a number of reasons why I chose the song “Roses of Picardy” to accompany this slide show of paintings by Sir William Orpen:
The song was written in 1916 (by Frederick Weatherly) and Orpen would have been familiar with it. In fact it was probably the most popular song from that era and closely associated with WW1. It was also recorded by the Irish Tenor John McCormack in 1919 and his portrait by Orpen features in this slideshow along with some of Orpens paintings from his time in Picardy.
Here the song is sung by my friend, Soprano Niamh Murray whom I’ve had the pleasure to photograph on a number of occasions

If you are interested in the life of Sir William Orpen, I suggest you follow his Facebook page where you will find lots of interesting photographs and information and keep up to date on the plans to erect a bronze statue of Orpen in his birth place Stillorgan:

Sir William Orpen from Dominic Lee on Vimeo.

Roses are shining in Picardy
In the hush of the silvery dew
Roses are flowering in Picardy
But there’s never a rose like you

And the roses will die with the summertime
And our roads may be far, far apart
But there’s one rose that dies not in Picardy
‘Tis the rose that I keep in my heart

But there’s never a rose like you
And the roses will die with the summertime
And our roads may be far, far apart
But there’s one rose that dies not in Picardy
‘Tis the rose that I keep in my heart


Sir William Orpen Art Exhibition Launch by Dominic Lee

Sir William Orpen Exhibition Launch by Dominic Lee

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

As William Orpen was born in Stillorgan I always felt it would be nice to honour his genius with an exhibition of some of his paintings or to erect a statue of him in the village.
There was no problem finding a location for a statue but funding was the main obstacle.

While everyone thought an exhibition was a great idea, there were two main obstacles, where to house an exhibition that would remain open 7 days a week and again finance was naturally an issue.
In December 2012 Ray Corey, the Manager of Stillorgan Village Shopping Centre ran a competition to rename the Malls and he mentioned to me that my “pal” Orpen was one of the winning entries so I seised the opportunity and purchased some digital files of Orpens paintings from the National Gallery.

I printed Orpen’s works on 100% cotton rag paper to maintain authenticity, mounted and framed them and asked Ray to hang them on the columns between each window on the 1st floor of the newly named Orpen Mall. My plan worked (although a bit of arm twisting was required)  he agreed to fund a total of 25 framed reproductions of Sir William Orpen’s paintings.

I then asked Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. Minister for Art, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to perform the official opening. I have known Jimmy since he featured in my first photography book “Out of Your Tree”  and he immediately accepted my invitation.

The launch was a huge success and was attended by about 70 local business owners including the son of William Orpens chauffeur and two of Orpens relations. Priory Studios also had a loan of an original Orpen painting from a private collector just for the launch.
The exhibition is permanent, it’s open to all during the Shopping Centres business hours and it’s free.

My next project will be to erect a statue of Orpen in Stillorgan and the Stillorgan Chamber of Commerce have kindly agreed to start an Orpen Statue Fund and will accept all donations large or small until this goal is achieved. A raffle at the launch raised €300 and the winner from Donal McNally Opticians received a framed reproduction of an Orpen painting. However, I subsequently received a very generous pledge of €5000 towards the fund, so one minute it did seem like an impossible task and the next minute a piece of cake!


Opening from Dominic Lee on Vimeo.

Photographs taken by William Barr and Vladimir Polivanov. Video by Rob Lee


Please like our new Orpen Facebook Page:

Paula Fitzpatrick - March 5, 2013 - 1:41 pm

Hi Dominic, Mairead, Vladimir and Sonny,

Just a note to congratulate you all on the wonderful diverse work on display.
A culmination of each person’s own distinct talents compliments and
invigorates the work both old and new.

Yours sincerely

Paula Fitzpatrick.

Karen D'Alton - March 6, 2013 - 5:01 pm

Hi Dominic

Really enjoyable evening, thank you for inviting us and hope you are relaxing this evening. Hope you got some money to start the Orpen Statue fund and I think it is a great idea.

I only had a quick look at the photographs this evening, but they are just fantastic, I’ve admired this guy for so long, so for me personally it was just fantastic to see them, I was in the imperial war museum early last year and it was very clinical and was nearly put off him, so thank you for allowing me to appreciate him again.


Peter Plant - March 6, 2013 - 5:05 pm

Thanks for the invitation. Really enjoyable evening and it was obvious that you had put a lot of work into the exhibition.
Peter Plant.

Margaret - March 8, 2013 - 9:47 am

You may have already come across this black and white newsreel footage of Sir William Orpen at work – but just in case you haven’t I enclose the link. The (very) short piece of footage shows him painting delegates at the Versailles treaty negotiations. Watch from about 4 minutes and 5 seconds into the film. If the Versaille piece can be extracted from the longer film perhaps you might find a role for it in your exhibition – if not on a wall, it could look great repeated-over on an ipad. It is pretty amazing to see the speed at which he worked and on multiple portraits simultaneously…. faster than many modern photographers.

Great idea to showcase him in his home place by the way. Congrats.

There’s A Place for You….. by Dominic Lee

There’s a place for you….. by Dominic Lee

The beginners photography course has been a great success, I must admit, I did wing it for the first couple of classes – but I quickly constructed a programme for class’s 1 to 6 based on the questions I was being asked.

Some students expected me to sit on their knee and show them how to change the ISO or turn the flash on and off but with an average of 10 students this was impossible, however, there are always other students who are happy to assist them during the coffee break and this unites the group in a way that I hadn’t expected.

Giving them a weekly exercise of taking two specific types of photos also proved to be a brilliant teaching aid. As I critique their images the following week I was surprised to find that every one of their photographs were taken at the wrong end of the scale, wrong shutter speed, wrong aperture, wrong ISO but by the end of the course 90% were making the necessary changes to get the best result.

The purpose of the class is not to turn the students into professionals, I hope they continue to snap away and have fun with their camera but every now and then they will see an image that requires special attention to make it a special photograph, worthy of enlarging, framing & placing it on the wall for all to admire and they leave the course with the knowledge & understanding to achieve that. We also offer a one day location course for students who have completed our Beginners Photography Course or  those who already have a basic understanding of camera control and settings. We have taken students to Russborough House in Blessington, Glenmalure and Marlay House in Rathfarnham. Here’s a blog containing video footage of a Marley House course we did recently.

The youngest student was 14 and the oldest was in his 80’s, some have basic pocket cameras while others are more elaborate.

So there is a place for you, Join us on our next course, you will love it!

And one lucky person will be in with the chance of winning a place on this course! All you have to do is go to our facebook page  and “Like” Priory Studios and “Like and Share” our Competition Graphic!




Sandra Yau - June 12, 2013 - 10:59 pm

Just wondering when the next beginners course is starting?

admin - June 13, 2013 - 8:32 am

Hi Sandra,
Next one will begin on Sept 17th – 6x Tuesdays evenings 7-9 pm. €150, I hope you can join us.

Photography Course at Marley House by Dominic Lee

Photography Course at Marley House by Dominic Lee

Earlier last month Dominic held a photography field trip at Marley House, Marley Park in Rathfarnham, Co.Dublin. This particular course is suitable for people who have completed our beginners course or for people that are familiar with the manual settings on their camera. All ages are welcome, to date our students have ranged in age from 14 to 80 years!

We thought we would share this short video clip, featuring some of the highlights of the day to give you a better idea of what to expect from a course like this. It shows some of the camera, lighting and posing skills that we will teach you

After the photo shoot, students were able to view their images on the iPad and were given a critique by the tutor.

To find out more about our courses click here: Courses

Some upcoming dates:

Our next beginners class will start on Tuesday 18th September and will run for 6 weeks, 1 evening a week at Priory Studios in Stillorgan.

Our next one day photography field trip will be held in Glenmalure on Sunday 28th October. To register your interest please email:

fergal megannety - August 17, 2012 - 9:26 am

hey that’s a cool bit of video, can i join you for your next course?

admin - August 27, 2012 - 10:01 am

Thanks Fergal. You are of course welcome to join us. Dominic.

Red Bull gives you wings by Dominic Lee

Petrol may be expensive @ over €1.60 per litre

Red Bull/Bottled Water is over €5 per litre

Perfume/Face Cream is over €350 per litre

But Ink for your inkjet printer tops the chart at over €600 per litre.

These prices are based on buying small bottles/cartridges like the ones the tax payer was buying for Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh who spent over €50, 000 of tax payer’s money on ink cartridges over the past two years!

I’d be happy to buy him some Red Bull, the ad says it gives you wings!!!