A poignant photograph of an Irish widow and her five young sons, who died in the Titanic, is to be sold at auction next month in Dublin.

Margaret Rice (39), a widow, and her sons Albert (10), George (8), Eric (7), Arthur (4), and Eugene (2), who lived in Athlone Co. Westmeath, all perished when the Titanic sank in the north Atlantic in April 1912.

The photograph has been kept by the woman’s relatives and passed down through the generations, according to Mealy’s auctioneers. It is being sold by a descendant who still lives in Athlone, the Irish Times reports. The sepia-tinted family portrait is in a gold-painted frame decorated with scrolling shamrock.

It is thought that Rice commissioned the photograph from a local photographer, possibly as a keepsake for her family who she left behind for a new life in the U.S.
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Auctioneer George F Mealy described the family portrait as a “poignant memento”. The 100-year-old photo will go under the hammer in Dublin on December 14 and is expected to reach over $1300 .

Rice was born Margaret Norton in Athlone in October 1872. Her family immigrated to Canada at an early age. When she was 19 she married William Rice, a shipping clerk with a railway firm.

The couple lived in Montreal. In 1909 they moved to Spokane in Washington in the U.S. Shortly after William died in a rail accident. After she received an insurance settlement she returned to Ireland where she worked as a housekeeper.

According to the 1911 census, she lived in rented accommodation at Castle Steet, Athlone. However she later decided to return to the U.S. and booked a third-class cabin on the Belfast belt Titanic. She embarked on the ship on it’s last port of call in Cobh, Co. Cork on Thursday April 11,  four day before it sank in icy Atlantic waters.