Obit in the Telegraph of 6 Aug 2021:
E X T R A C T The Earl of Antrim, authority on art who served as Keeper of Conservation at the Tate Gallery for 20 years – obituaryHe helped to oversee a period of huge expansion at the Tate, while in his restoration work he had a particular affinity for British masters
The 14th Earl of Antrim, who has died aged 86, was an acknowledged expert on many aspects of art and a leading authority on the restoration of paintings.
...Alexander Randal Mark McDonnell was born in London on February 3 1935, the eldest of three surviving children of the 13th Earl of Antrim, later an energetic chairman of the National Trust who also launched Enterprise Neptune to help preserve the British coastline. Alexander’s grandfather had died before he was born, so he was Viscount Dunluce from birth.
...Alexander’s mother Angela (daughter of Sir Mark Sykes of Sledmere) was a talented professional sculptor, cartoonist and illustrator who redecorated Glenarm with her painted interpretations of McDonnell family history and classical mythology, as well as sculpting the nine planets as caryatids in the hall.
The McDonnells were Catholic Highland Scots who fared well during the Ulster plantation period under the leadership of their warrior-like chieftain Sorley Boy McDonnell, whose son was created Earl of Antrim in 1620. Their estates once extended to some 330,000 acres, but were later vastly reduced by gambling and the Irish Land Acts.
On the outbreak of war, Alexander’s mother took the children to Glenarm, where Alexander ran riot with the gardener’s son Jackie Wilson, whose nickname for him of “Lordie” stuck throughout their lifelong friendship. When Jackie (later a successful retailer but before that a lorry driver) married, the local paper ran the headline “Viscount Attends Lorry Driver’s Wedding”.
After his father made over Glenarm to him, he moved back to Northern Ireland in 1969, combining running the estate with working as a conservator in the Ulster Museum in Belfast. But the worsening Troubles soon took him back to London, where he resumed work at the Tate in 1971 and succeeded Stefan Slabcynski as Keeper of Conservation four years later.
...Having finally taken the title of Earl of Antrim – he decided to do so with the toss of a coin – he subsequently threw his energies into such interests as the Fishmongers’ Company, Ulster Television and the Northern Salmon Company, having earlier made Glenarm over to his son Randal.
He married first, in 1963, Sarah Harmsworth; they had a son and two daughters. That marriage was dissolved in 1974. He married secondly, in 1977, Elizabeth Sacher; they had a daughter. He is succeeded in the earldom by his son.The Earl of Antrim, born February 3 1935, died July 21 2021https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2021/08/05/earl-antrim-authority-art-served-keeper-conservation-tate-gallery/