SOLD Hammer price: €2200, Estimate: €1000-1500
Lost in the Titanic
A large photographic Portrait, retouched, sepia, laid on canvas, framed and glazed, showing Mrs. Margaret Norton Rice (from Athlone) and her five children, all of whom were lost in the Titanic disaster of April, 1912.
Mrs. Rice was born Margaret Norton in Athlone, October 1872. She moved to Canada at an early age with her family. At 19 she married William Rice, a shipping clerk, and came home to Ireland for a time before returning to Canada and moving to Washington. In 1909 William Rice died in a rail accident, and Margaret received an insurance settlement of £300, with which she returned to Ireland in 1910 with her sons. She is recorded in Athlone in the 1911 census. In 1912, however, she decided to return to Washington and booked her passage on the Titanic. Her ticket number was 382652, costing £29. She embarked at Queenstown with her five sons, it is believed this photograph was taken in Cork before they embarked.
After the ship struck an iceberg, she was seen sitting in the third class area with her children. The Titanic carried sufficient lifeboats for only half its 2,240 passengers. Although women and children were given priority by the crew, third class passengers had little chance of reaching the boats on the upper deck.
Margaret’s body was recovered afterwards by a cable-laying ship, and she was identified through a box of pills purchased at an Athlone pharmacy. She is buried at Mount Olivet cemetery. Her children were not identified among the recovered bodies. A poignant memento of a dreadful night, when 1500 people died. (1)