At 2.10pm on 7th May, 1915, Clyde-built Cunard liner the RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland. Within 18 minutes, the ship had sunk. Only 761 of the 1,959 the passengers and crew on board survived. Amid the controversy of the sinking of a civilian vessel which, with the death of 123 American citizens, brought America’s involvement in the War ever closer and the accusation by the Germans that the ship was carrying munitions, were the personal stories of those on board. This talk will highlight the stories of art dealer Edgar Gorer and art collector, Sir Hugh Lane, both of whom would lose their lives. At the time of his death, Gorer was fighting a legal battle in the US courts to save his reputation; Lane’s death would see the British and Irish art establishment in an ownership tug-of war over his bequest, which would last for decades to come.
Today’s lecture has developed out of extensive research undertaken on Chinese art dealer Edgar Gorer as a part of a Leverhulme Research Grant to Catalogue the Chinese works of art at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight.
A full-length essay on Gorer can be accessed for free here.
The University of Glasgow Archives hold records relating to the design and construction of the Lusitania as part of the records of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders. For more information on the collection contact the Duty Archivist.