Finely Carved


The limestone chimney piece in the entrance hall of the Hugh Lane Gallery, formerly Charlemont House, Dublin. This building, begun in 1763 to the design of Sir William Chambers, features the work of a number of master craftsmen including the London-born sculptor and stonecutter Simon Vierpyl. It is believed he was responsible for this chimney piece with its vigorous carving of a rams skull, and scrolls and swags in the upper section and a variety of tools and instruments running down the sides.
A reminder that I shall be speaking of Hugh Lane in the gallery tomorrow evening from 6.45. Admission is free.

Hugh Lane

A portrait of art dealer and philanthropist Sir Hugh Lane. The picture was painted in September 1904 by Roman-born Antonio Mancini when Lane was visiting the artist’s native city. Tomorrow marks the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania off the coast of Cork, and Lane was among the 1,198 persons who died on that occasion.
I shall be giving two talks in the coming weeks on Sir Hugh Lane. On Thursday 14th May, I will be speaking at the Library in Douglas, Cork at 7pm (for more information, see and on Thursday 21st May I will be speaking at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane at 6.45 (for more information, see The Mancini portrait continues to hang in the gallery founded by Sir Hugh Lane and can be seen there in an exhibition marking the centenary of his death.

Lane’s Lore

Hugh Lane pencil portrait 1905

Art dealer and collector Sir Hugh Lane drawn by the artist John Butler Yeats in August 1905. At the time, Yeats was engaged in producing a series of portraits of notable Irish men and women, a commission he received from Lane who intended these works to form the core of a National Portrait Gallery for Ireland. Within three years he had instead established a modern art gallery in Dublin which continues to this day. To learn more about Lane, and about the controversy over a collection of Impressionist paintings after his unexpected death in 1915, you can now watch two short films featuring the Irish Aesthete:

A Lamentable Loss


Sir Hugh Lane, the original Irish Aesthete and the subject of my first book (published by Lilliput Press in 2000) drowned ninety eight years ago today after the RMS Lusitania on which he was returning from New York, was torpedoed by a German U-Boat off the coast of Cork. This portrait, now in the collection of the municipal art gallery in Dublin founded by Lane in 1908 was commissioned by his friends from John Singer Sargent two years earlier. One always wonders what Lane, still not yet forty at the time of his death, might have achieved had he lived longer.