Search the Archive

Search the National Gallery Archive containing records of the Gallery's activities from its foundation in 1824 to the present day. Find out more about the National Gallery Archive.

Record NG14/22

Archive reference number NG14/22

Acquisition: Lane Bequest

Date 1907-1994

In his will of 11 Oct 1913 Sir Hugh Lane bequeathed 39 continental paintings to the National Gallery to found a collection of modern continental art in London. However in 1915 Lane added a codicil revoking the terms of the will, stating instead that his pictures were to be left to Dublin provided a suitable building to house them could be built within five years of his death.

Although the codicil was signed it was not witnessed and consequently the paintings came to the National Gallery following a High Court ruling in the Gallery's favour in 1917. Despite this ruling, persistent lobbying against the decision continued as it was felt that Dublin had a strong moral claim to the pictures. A Government committee was appointed in 1925 to consider the matter further, and reported in 1926 that it would be improper to modify Lane's will by act of Parliament.

Lobbying continued sporadically in the following years and despite suggestions that the Gallery would be prepared to lend pictures from the bequest to Dublin, no fruitful negotations took place until 1957, culminating in an Agreement of 6 Nov 1959. This stated that the collection was to be split into 2 groups and each group to be lent in turn to the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin for successive five year periods over a twenty year period, after which time the matter would be reviewed. The agreement was renewed in 1979 and again in 1993 although the terms of the agreement have altered over time.

This sub-series contains documents regarding the bequest, dispute and subsequent agreements between the National Gallery and the Dublin authorities.

Sir John Witt's own papers re the Bequest were given to the Gallery in 1964 and may be found at NG14/22/15-19. His letter of 16 Mar 1964 offering the papers to the Gallery in case of future research interest may be found in NG14/22/15

Record type Series
Paintings referenced in this record NG3233, NG3234, NG3235, NG3236, NG3237, NG3238, NG3239, NG3240, NG3241, NG3242, NG3243, NG3244, NG3245, NG3246, NG3247, NG3248, NG3249, NG3250, NG3251, NG3252, NG3253, NG3254, NG3255, NG3256, NG3257, NG3258, NG3259, NG3260, NG3261, NG3262, NG3263, NG3264, NG3265, NG3266, NG3267, NG3268, NG3269, NG3270, NG3271

Your list will only be saved temporarily. Inactivity of more than an hour could result in the loss of your list. If you would like to keep a record of your list, we suggest you email it to yourself.

Your list of records will be sent to us if you request an appointment, and a summary will be included in your appointment email notification.