Christie’s is selling Irish painter Sir William Orpen’s In Dublin Bay. Here’s a description of the setting and its importance. The portrait is Orpen’s wife:
Orpen’s summer holidays at Howth Head, the promontory to the north of Dublin Bay, provided some of his most celebrated works. Having completed one of his annual teaching periods at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, he would rent the Bellinghams’ house known as ‘The Cliffs’, where he, his wife and children would take headland walks, bathe in the sheltered coves and occasionally pitch an ex-army bell-tent on the hilltop for impromptu picnics.1 Sorties to and from his Dublin friends, models and students were frequent. Despite its fabled poverty, the city had been experiencing a cultural renaissance. After the defeat of Parnell and the Home Rule movement, the pendulum of radicalism, as W.B. Yeats noted, swung towards the arts. Young painters, particularly those who sat in Orpen’s classes, were at the center of this ‘Celtic Revival’ and although his fortune lay in London, the artist, consorting with Hugh Lane and Augusta Gregory, was arguably the prime motivating force behind the emergence of a new cultural identity in the visual arts in Ireland. To students, his work provided an exemplar of modernist tendencies that would inexorably be linked to the broader movement leading to Irish regeneration and independence.
Piers Davies, Christie’s specialist explains more: