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.

3 comments on “A Lamentable Loss

  1. One imagines he would have achieved even more remarkable things, as a man of great taste & discernment; and extraordinary generosity. Even as it is, we all owe him a huge debt. I love this portrait. Also remember seeing, am i right?- a wonderful drawing, a plan (by Edwin Lutyens?) for a bridge over the Liffey, a sort of Ponte Vechio- or Rialto-type covered bridge and the now-Hugh Lane gallery planed for inside the bridge! Do I remember correctly? Even had he lived it was probably not that feasible, or practical, nor even desirable (think of blocking the views up & down the Liffey) But for all that, still a brilliant and exciting concept. I must have seen that drawing over 20 years ago. It has stayed with me. Had not realised that today was the anniversary of his tragic, very premature demise. Excellent post Robert.

  2. Yes, there was a plan to build an art gallery that crossed the Liffey, around the place occupied by the Ha’penny Bridge – and a drawing made of Lutyens’ design to that effect. But it has never seemed feasible to me because the river is not sufficiently wide, unlike the Thames or the Arno. It would have remained a pipe dream. Lutyens also designed a gallery for Lane to be within St Stephen’s Green but this proposal was vetoed by Ld Ardilaun who had paid for the park’s landscaping before presenting it to the people of Dublin, and had the right to object to any further alterations during his lifetime.
    Thanks for your interest, and glad to see you have been travelling of late in France…

  3. […] post,  on the portrait series commissioned by Lane,  see these two links respectively:   90th anniversary of Lane’s death.      and:     Portrait series commissioned by Lane. […]

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