22 June 2024

12pm - 4:30pm

IWM London

Limited availability and advance booking only.

£40 | £48 with glass of prosecco

Orpen Collection Viewing and Afternoon Tea

A street scene in Cassel with a tall yellow house in the background. On the left a British soldier waves to a figure dressed in a blue cap and jacket. In the right two soldiers in kilts talk to a woman and child.
© IWM Art.IWM ART 2975
Soldiers and Peasants, Cassel by William Orpen

Step into the world of Sir William Orpen in an exclusive private viewing and tour of his acclaimed artworks in IWM London’s Orpen Boardroom.  

As one of Britain’s official war artists, Orpen captured the harrowing realities of life in the trenches of the First World War. The intimate setting allows you to appreciate the details and emotions conveyed in each piece.

Following the viewing and tour of the Orpen collection, indulge in an afternoon tea. Enjoy a mix of savoury and sweet treats, complemented with a selection of teas and coffees or a glass of prosecco. This is a perfect time to relax, engage in conversation, and savour the moment.

Guided Tour of the Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries

 A soldier from a Highland regiment standing on a mound of white chalky soil against a dark blue sky. He holds his rifle in his right hand, and looks down at a grave marked with a cross on the left. There is another marked grave in the distance.
© IWM Art.IWM ART 2995
A Highlander Passing a Grave by William Orpen.

Following afternoon tea, embark on a guided tour through IWM’s new Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries, which provide a vivid account of modern war. For the first time, these enthralling new galleries display our diverse art collection alongside our extensive era-defining film and photography collections. Join our expert guides as they share insights about the works on display.  


Please note: This video contains instrumental sound only.

Works including John Singer Sargent’s monumental painting Gassed, Steve McQueen’s response to the 2003 war in Iraq, Queen and Country, and works by artists including William Orpen, Paul Nash, Laura Knight and Rosalind Nashashibi, demonstrate how artistic interpretation can uniquely shape our understanding of war. With diverse displays from filmmakers including Peter Jackson, Geoffrey Malins and Omer Fast, and photographers including Olive Edis, Cecil Beaton and Tim Hetherington, these new, permanent galleries reflect global conflict from 1914 to the present day.

About William Orpen

 A self portrait as a reflection in a mirror. The mirror is mounted next to a window overlooking a street. In the foreground is a table with a soda siphon, wine bottles, a glass, several books, and maps of France.
© IWM Art.IWM ART 2380
Ready to Start, self-portrait by William Orpen, painted shortly after his arrival in France.

An Irish-born painter, William Orpen emerged as a prominent artist during the early 20th century. His talent and versatility allowed him to navigate various genres, but it was during the First World War that he gained significant recognition. 

Commissioned as an official war artist, Orpen captured the harsh realities of conflict with both sensitivity and intensity. His unflinching portrayal of life and death in the trenches often caused clashes with his superiors, who desired art to invoke glory and patriotism. Instead, Orpen’s poignant depictions of soldiers on the Western Front, marked by a blend of realism and emotion, conveyed the human toll of war. 

Orpen's compelling body of work stands as a testament to the transformative power of art in reflecting the complexities of the human condition during times of upheaval.

Event Timetable

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Doors open at 12pm 12:15pm 1:30pm 1:45pm3:30pm 4:00pm

Plan your afternoon

Guided tour of Blavatnik, Art, Film and Photography Galleries

Introduction to William Orpen


Afternoon tea is served

Exclusive lecture on William Orpen

Event concludes

About Your Ticket

Three people chat over an afternoon tea served on tiered plates in IWM London's Orpen Boardroom.

As a charity, your Afternoon Tea ticket purchase helps IWM continue to tell stories for future generations. 

Tickets cost just £40 per person (including IWM members) and include: 

  • An afternoon of insightful talks in the exclusive Orpen boardroom, discussing one of Britain’s most iconic wartime artists

  • A private viewing of the WIlliam Orpen collection

  • An elegant afternoon tea, with vegetarian and vegan options available

  • Prosecco is offered with your afternoon tea for a small surcharge. A bar will also be open.

  • The afternoon will conclude with a guided tour of IWM's new Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries

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Visions of War: Art of the Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums hold one of the most significant collections of British art anywhere in the world. It includes around 16,000 works of fine art. Here we explore ten works from various eras of conflict, by artists who breathe life into discussion of war and conflict, their work offering new ways into ideas and subjects that can, at times, be challenging.