Works of art by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, David Teniers the Younger and Francesco Guardi are among eight paintings from Russborough House to be sold at Christie’s in London in July. They are being sold by The Alfred Beit Foundation to safeguard the long term future of Russborough in Co. Wicklow.
Two magnificent panels by Rubens – Head of a Bearded Man (£2-3 million) and Venus and Jupiter (£1.2-1.8 million) – lead the Old Masters to be offered. A Kermesse (religious festival) by David Teniers the Younger dating to the 1640’s is estimated at £1.2-1.8 million, Adoration of the Shepherds by Adriaen van Ostade is estimated at £600,000-800,000 and a pair of Venetian views by Franceso Guardi is estimated at £300,000-500,000. They come up at Christie’s Old Master evening auction in London on July 9 and will be exhibited in New York, Hong Kong and London prior to the sale.
Three further lots to be sold are Francois Boucher’s Aurore et Amour tenant une torche (£30,000-50,000) at the Old Master Drawings auction on July 7. Two views of Yew Court, Scalby, Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw will come up at the sale of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist Art on June 16. They are estimated at £50,000-70,000 each.
Built almost 300 years ago Russborough is in continuing need of restoration and improvements to the main house, the wings, the colonnades, outbuildings, estate grounds, walkways, water features and visitor facilities. Acquired in 1952 by Sir Alfred Beit it was the scene of four major art robberies. In 1986 Sir Alfred and Lady Beit made a gift of many of the most celebrated works from their world famous art collection to the National Gallery of Ireland. These included masterpieces by Vermeer, Gabriel Metsu, Jacob van Ruisdael, Goya and Gainsborough, all now house in the Beit Wing at the gallery.
Following the four notorious robberies in the 1970’s, ’80’s and early 2000’s six of the eight lots being auctioned have not been in view or even in storage at the house for many years. Judith Woodworth, chair of the Alfred Beit Foundation, said the endowment fund to be established with the proceeds is an absolute necessity. The roofs, stonework, electrical and heating systems all need attention, the interiors need refurbishment and conservation.
UPDATE: Christie’s formally withdrew the works following a request from the Beit Foundation for a postponement.
Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Venus and Jupiter (£1.2-1.8 million) © Christie’s Images Limited 2015
Francesco Guardi (1712-1793). One of a pair of Venetian views:
>The Piazza San Marco looking towards the Basilica © Christie’s Images Limited 2015
Sir Peter Paul Rubens – Portrait of a Bearded Man (£2-3 million) © Christie’s Images Limited 2015
David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) – A village inn with peasants dancing and merry making to the music of a hurdy-gurdy (£1.2-1.8 million) © Christie’s Images Limited 2015