Hugh Lane condemns Dublin Corporation
Sir Hugh Lane has expressed his disappointment that the pictures that he pledged to Dublin will now leave the city, probably for the National Gallery in London Photo: Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane

Hugh Lane condemns Dublin Corporation

Published: 10 September 1913

The decision of Dublin Corporation – by 23 votes to 21 – to reject the proposed municipal gallery to be built across the River Liffey under the design of Edwin Lutyens has been condemned by Sir Hugh Lane.

The Corporation’s decision to withhold its consent – after five years of negotiations – was made at a special meeting last Monday and was driven by concerns over the cost of the venture, its siting across the River Liffey and the failure to hold an open competition where Irish architects could compete with Mr. Lutyens for the commission.

Sir Hugh Lane expressed his dismay that the great bulk of his collection would now leave Dublin and that it would now most likely be housed at the National Gallery in London. He said that he did not see the position that he had taken in the negotiations as being in any way unreasonable and asked why it was that the Corporation had supported the proposals earlier this year, only to change its mind now.

Sir Hugh complained of the ‘vacillating attitude’ of the Corporation and said that it was difficult to understand the objection to an art gallery being across the River Liffey. He suggested that he was not particularly impressed with the view as it currently stood.

He stressed that, in his view, the only architect competent to design a modern art gallery, having regard to the beauty of the exterior and the planning of the interior, was Edwin Lutyens. The galleries built by Lutyens at Rome and Johannesburg, he said, gave evidence of his talent and competence in this regard. The release of Mr. Lutyens' design made it clear to everyone what was planned and Sir Hugh had planned to pay his fees himself.

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