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British gallery still in possession of Hugh Lane’s valuable collection
A detail of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 'Les Parapluies' which is part of Sir Hugh Lane's controversial collection currently held by the National Gallery in London Photo: © The National Gallery, London

British gallery still in possession of Hugh Lane’s valuable collection

Dublin, 14 December 1917 - The Hugh Lane collection of pictures, currently residing in London, are worth more than all the pictures in the National Gallery in Dublin.

So a well-attended meeting last night at the School of Art, Dublin was told. The crowd had been summoned with the object of supporting the claim for the return of Hugh Lane’s French pictures to Dublin.

Mr Thomas Bodkin, Sir Hugh’s nephew, stressed the importance of protesting the retention of the pictures in England – without it, the English people would think that they had an uncontested claim to them.

Lady Gregory, Sir Hugh’s aunt, mentioned that she had appealed to the Trustees of the National Gallery who informed her that they had no legal right to give up the pictures. And while the government were not at present allowing private bills to be introduced, Sir Edward Carson, John Redmond and several other MPs had promised help to secure such a bill.

However, Lady Gregory expressed the view that the government be urged to accept Sir Hugh Lane’s codicil, as they had accepted codicils in the case of soldiers’ wills. Lane’s life was, she added, devoted to Ireland and his wish was to make it a ‘treasure house of art’.

Robert O'Byrne discusses the death of Hugh Lane and his legacy. (This video is part of the 3 part series on Hugh Lane by Julia Wakeham. Click here to watch the series)

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.