Bruce Arnold

Critic of Public Affairs, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Beit Foundation

The Sale of Pictures by the Beit Foundation

The group of paintings that are being sold by the Beit Foundation, to create an endowment fund designed to keep Russborough House open and in good working order, have nothing whatsoever to do with the generous bequest made by Sir Alfred and Lady Beit. They are owned by the Foundation. They are significant individual works of art and their sale is important and should be supported by the very organisations that are now trying to stop that sale.

Notable among these are An Taisce, the Irish Georgian Society and The Friends of the National Collections of Ireland. All are misrepresenting the facts.

The Friends of the National Collections of Ireland maintain that the paintings “form part of the bequest of Sir Alfred and Lady Beit”. They do not. That bequest is safely and proudly held in the National Gallery. It is no longer safe for it to be housed at Russborough. This second, more recent group of works were not “gifted for public benefit” other than as decided by the Beit Foundation. The State has no responsibility in the matter.