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    Sir Peter Paul Rubens – Portrait of a Bearded Man (£2-3 million) © Christie’s Images Limited 2015

    Sir Peter Paul Rubens – Portrait of a Bearded Man (£2-3 million) © Christie’s Images Limited 2015

    The Irish Antique Dealers Association (IADA) has come out against the proposed sale of eight works from the collection at Russborough House in Co. Wicklow at Christie’s. A statement from George Stacpoole, President of the IADA says it is in full support of any move to halt the sale of the Beit paintings. “The feeling of the Association is that, as these works of art were left to the Irish Nation, for the enjoyment of those living in Ireland and those frequenting Ireland, these international works of art should never have been allowed to be put up for sale”.

    They said that as the art was left as a gift to the nation and accepted as such the current government must bear responsibility of both the upkeep of Russborough House and the works of art housed within. “It must be recognised that these treasures are not only important for their unique values, but also as a source of revenue to the Irish State, as many tourists frequent Ireland just to see such wonderful treasures”.

    Works of art by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, David Teniers the Younger and Francesco Guardi are among the paintings from Russborough due to be sold at Christie’s in London in July.  The Alfred Beit Foundation said that the challenges in funding a house such as Russborough are immense.  Russborough needs a million euro a year to fund its operational costs. They say they are the owner of the relevant paintings, which were not left to the State by the Beits, and explored every other credible option before deciding on sale. As late as 2005, Lady Clementine Beit gave her personal collection of Italian bronzes to the Foundation with specific instructions that they be sold to help defray the costs of keeping Russborough open.

    (See posts on for June 11 and May 1, 2015).

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