Entrepreneur & Art Collector:
Sir Hugh Lane - Famous Art Dealer Drowned On Lusitania Sinking
In 1915 when the Lusitania liner was torpedoed off the Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork, by a German submarine, the Irish nation lost a major collection of irreplaceable art of major value.
On board the sunken liner was Sir Hugh Percy Lane, a Cork born world renowned Arts Collector.
Sir Hugh had, prior to the tragic sea disaster, sent a large number of paintings to the English National Gallery as no suitable premises was forthcoming from the Irish authorities to house and display such a prominent and priceless collection. The consequences were that the paintings went to a British Gallery.
Despite requests from various Irish bodies for the return of Sir Hugh’s property, the exclusive collection remained in British custody. The renowned and famous Lady Gregory, an aunt of Sir Hugh’s, was also a noted Arts Collector and introduced her nephew to the world of art.
In his teens he traveled to all the major European cities in search of famous galleries.
He also had a great interest in the Literary world and was known to be a generous man to many budding writers who were constantly struggling financially.
W.B. Yeats was one of Percy Lane’s closest companions and introduced him to many members of the Irish Literary
When Sir Hugh went about establishing a Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin in 1908, Dublin Corporation provided a premises. All of the paintings housed there were later transferred to The Municipal Gallery Of Modern Art at Parnell
Square and became the nucleus of that famous Gallery.
In 1913 Sir Hugh was finding it difficult to acquire sufficient space to house and display numerous new valuable paintings and no premises was afforded by the Irish authorities.
It was then Sir Hugh approached his English Art contacts to arrange temporary transfers until a more suitable Dublin
venue could be established somewhere in Ireland.
Alas the Lusitania disaster and Sir Hugh Lane died, aged just forty years.
His contributions to Irish art was unequaled in his time and his fame throughout the land made him a Famous 20th century Son Of Ireland.