The core collection of Dublin City Gallery–The Hugh Lane is made up of the Impressionist paintings donated by the museum’s namesake, Sir Hugh Lane, to the Dublin Corporation in 1905. At the time, however, the Corporation was unprepared to house the works, and Lane began to look for a more suitable home for his gift. He had already begun transferring paintings to the National Gallery, London, when Dublin proposed Charlemont House as a possible site for the museum. Lane agreed to the new arrangement, but died before his revised will could be witnessed. The result was a nearly 50-year dispute that was eventually resolved with the somewhat awkward arrangement of the two museums swapping the works every five years.
The current collection of the Dublin City Gallery has expanded to include a wide variety of media—from stained glass to digital arts—made by both Irish and international artists throughout the last century-and-a-half. Since 2001, the museum has also served as the new home for Francis Bacon’s former London studio. John Edwards, the bartender/model/companion who inherited Bacon’s estate in 1992, donated the studio’s contents—including its walls, ceiling, floor, and doors—to the Hugh Lane in 1998, and the gallery meticulously reconstructed the room in all its messy glory. The installation is now viewable behind glass windows and through peep-holes.