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Dispute over Hugh Lane’s pictures continues
View of Louveciennes by Camille Pissarro. One of the paintings in Sir Hugh Lane's collection Photo: © Copyright The National Gallery, London

Dispute over Hugh Lane’s pictures continues

Westminster, 21 March 1917 - The dispute over the ownership and display of the late Sir Hugh Lane’s collection of paintings continues to rumble on.

Alfie Byrne, MP, speaking in the House of Commons today, asked for the pictures, which are currently in the possession of the National Gallery, London, to be returned to the City of Dublin.

After a dispute surrounding the building of a new gallery in Dublin, Sir Hugh bequeathed the paintings to London. Just before his death on the Lusitania in 1915, it appears he wrote and signed an amendment to his will, gifting them to Dublin instead. However, due to the fact that this document was not witnessed, it is not legally binding.

The British government has declined to support the return of the pictures, leading Michael Joseph Flavin MP to ask:

‘Do you know there is a strong feeling throughout the whole of Ireland that these pictures should be restored to Ireland for the benefit of the Irish people?’

No reply was given to this question.

In a short film by Julia Wakeham, Robert O'Byrne explains the dispute surrounding Hugh Lane and the Dublin Art Gallery.

[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.