Two Russborough Beit paintings sell for £112,500

Paintings sell at low end of expectations at auction in London

The first of the Beit paintings from Russborough House have been sold in London for a combined total of £112,500 (approximately €156,000).

The first of the paintings from the Beit Collection at Russborough House, Co Wicklow have sold at auction in London for a total of £112,500.

The two oil paintings, by 19th century English artist John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893), were among the lots in an auction at Christie's titled "Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist Art".

The paintings, each measuring approximately 8 by 17 inches, are scenes of Scalby, a village near the Engish seaside resort of Scarborough. The first is titled “Yew Court, Scalby, on a November night”; and the second, “ The old gates, Yew Court, Scalby, near Scarborough”.


Each was estimated at £50,000 to £70,000 and each made £56, 250 – at the low end of expectations.

The two paintings – auctioned separately – were bought by the same, unnamed bidder in the saleroom. The auction was broadcast online and was open to internet bidding.

A third, larger painting by Grimshaw titled 'Moonlight After Rain', not owned by the Alfred Beit Foundation, went under the hammer immediately afterwards with a top estiamte of £300,000 but failed to sell.

A further seven paintings being sold by the Alfred Beit Foundation, to raise funds for the upkeep and conservation of Russborough House in Blessington, are scheduled to be auctioned in London next month. Among them are two 'Old Master' paintings by 17th century Flemish artist, Peter Paul Rubens and two views of Venice by 18th century Italian artist Francesco Guardi. If all the paintings sell at the top of their estimates the collection could realise in the region of €11 million.

Today an Taisce brought a legal challenge alleging export licences were not lawfully issued for 10 paintings, some of which are scheduled for sale on July 9th.

It is alleged a licence of March 16th, 2015, granted by the National Gallery of Ireland to the Irish branch of London-based fine art auction house Christie’s, acting as agent of the Alfred Beit Foundation, Russborough House, Co Wicklow, for export of the paintings to the UK was made in excess of the powers of the gallery.

Michael Parsons

Michael Parsons

Michael Parsons is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about fine art and antiques