New website reveals claims from public after Easter Rising

  • Rising claims

A new website details claims made by the public for items lost or damaged as a result of the Easter Rising.

The 1916 uprising produced one the largest mass-compensation claims in the history of Ireland and the new website reveals claims for items such as fine art, jewellery and clothing. 

Produced by the National Archives of Ireland, the site details more than 6,500 claims considered by a committee established by British authorities in the aftermath of the Easter Rising. 

Many claims relate to damage caused to buildings around Dublin - including the purpose built Royal Hibernian Academy, holding an exhibition at the time of the Rising but losing over 500 artworks that were on display. 

One of the biggest claims was submitted not by an artist but by a collector – one George Sydney Waterlowof The Grove, Killiney, Co Dublin, who had had the misfortune of having loaned his art collection to the RHA.

He claimed for 19 paintings worth £2,100.12s. He was awarded just over half that figure – £1,123 pounds. He complained, claiming that just one of the paintings was worth £1,000 and he had turned down an offer of £840.The committee gave no ground, however.

Among the well-known artists who claimed were: J Humber Craig of Bangor, Co Down, who claimed £27. 7s [shillings] for two paintings – the committee recommended that he get £15.4s; William John Leech of Kensington, London, who claimed £68.5s for three paintings but was awarded £44.4s; Sarah Purser of Mespil House, Dublin, who claimed £270 for seven paintings and was awarded £201.9s; and Leo Whelan of Eccles Street, Dublin, who claimed £66 for two paintings and was awarded £29.15s.

The most famous artist to claim was John Lavery – later Sir John Lavery – of London who claimed £600 for a painting titled Girls in Sunlight. He received £425.

Smaller artefacts and possessions were also submitted and in one claim, silver indian bangles, a brooch and '4 pairs knickers' were claimed for by Mary and Eleanor Bruen who lived in a flat at St Stephen's Green in Dublin.

Archivist Niamh O'Donnell managed the digitisation hopes the website will help to 'fill in gaps in knowledge and to gain a greater understanding of the social, economic and architectural fallout of the Rising'.

CLICK HERE to view the new site and search the claim history.