The sitter in this portrait is Emily Scobel, a model from the Slade School of Art. Orpen was briefly engaged to her. The room is apparently an accurate portrayal of Orpen’s lodgings, but the shallow pictorial depth and ‘aesthetic’ arrangement of objects is based on Whistler’s famous portrait of his mother.
The concave mirror on the wall reflects the artist painting at his easel. This is a device which Orpen borrowed from Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Marriage which he would have seen on display at the National Gallery.
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Sir William Orpen (29)