Hugh Lane paintings and Lusitania

Most Lusitania aficionados known the tangled story of art dealer and philanthropist Hugh Lane, who died on the vessel in May 1915.

He was bringing back paintings on the great Cunarder - but that's another story.

Lane's death left a whole swathe of Old Masters in a certain limbo.

He had bequeathed an unsurpassed collection of Impressionists to Dublin in a new codicil to his will, prior to going to the USA (and losing his life on the return journey).

The codicil was unwitnessed.

Previously, in a fit of pique, Lane had shifted the paintings to London in a row with Dublin councillors over their refusal to grant him permission for a new gallery in which to house the works.

The gallery would have been in the form of an intrusive and quite ugly bridge-cum-gallery over the river Liffey, and so there were layers or architectural and civic concerns - but Lane went into a strop.

Then he repented. He wrote up his codicil - but because it was unwitnessed, London refused to honour it after his death and return the paintings.

It became a bone of contention between Dublin and London in the decades after Irish Independence was wrested at the beginning of the 1920s.

Now the "dying wish" of Lane to see some of the Monets, Renoirs and other art hanging in Dublin will finally be fulfilled.

In part. And only on a loan basis, although it might become permanent loan.

The existing Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin re-opens in May following a multi-million, five-year refurbishment.

Eight French impressionist masterpieces - worth €180m - will be exhibited together for the first time since 1913 in the newly-expanded gallery.

The returned canvasses are part of a 39 Impressionist collection known as the "Hugh Lane Bequest" and dubiously claimed to be 'owned' by the National Gallery in London. (Elgin marbles, anyone?)

They include two by Manet - Eva Gonzalez and La Musique aux Tuileries - Monet's Lavacourt Under Snow, Renoir's Les Parapluies (think we all know this one), Vuillard's La Cheminée, and Pisarro's View from Louveciennes.

Also Sur la plage, by Degas, below -


But one of the most interesting, for "political" reasons, is Berthe Morisot's 'Summer Day' (Un Jour d'Eté), below -


The Morisot was stolen from London by Irish students in the 1950s to highlight the dispute. It was eventually recovered by police here and returned to London. Controversial... but the Irish Government couldn't support wanton theft!

It will be nice to have our summer day for a while. Hughie will look down and laugh.
Hi Senan,

just out of curiosity, ive emailed English Heritage to see if they would put up a blue plaque up on Lanes London address on Cheyne Walk,in London, as his art collection is of importance to both London and Dublin, maybe its about time he was recognised,
maybe if enough people contacted English Heritage they may at last recognise his contibution to the art world, what do you think?

Noel: Grow up. Once again you are trying to derail what might be an informative thread with your, frankly, puerile baiting. If you have nothing to contribute to this thread pertaining to Hugh Lane, the Lusitania, or art collecting then don't post here.

Inger Sheil

Lovely images, Sen. I'm sorry I'll miss the refurbished Gallery opening by a month - but that's a good excuse to revisit Dublin again soon (as if one ever needs an excuse...).

Cliff, I'll be interested in hearing the response to the plaque request. Cheyne Walk, eh? Also home to another great figure in art - Rossetti.
Geoff/Inger, the house is there in all its original glory ,will be posting a picture this weekend on here, it looksright onto the thames and has a beautiful garden surounded high walls and fences,

Jim, I havent forgotten Rita's house, will send to you over the weekend


C.M. White

I actually have an original photograph of the Irish Students coming down the steps with the painting' Summers Day. Anyone out there interested in acquiring this.