The Alfred Beit Foundation is planning to sell a collection of Chinese porcelain at auction in November, to raise funds for the long term upkeep of the Russborough House in Ireland’s County Wicklow.
Russborough House, an 18th century mansion, was previously owned by Sir Alfred Beit and his wife Clementine, who bought the property in 1952. The couple filled the house with antiques of all kinds, including a priceless art collection.
The building was used to entertain guests with lavish parties and eventually was signed over to the foundation, so that it could be enjoyed by members of the public. Since 1978, it is believed that around one million people have been to the house.
The antique Chinese porcelain has been kept in storage and is deemed to be ‘surplus’ to the requirements of the house. Although the value of the chinaware has been estimated at €350,000, experts believe it could be sold at auction for a much higher price as the porcelain will be in high demand with Asian collectors.
Buying antiques at auction – whether art, jewellery, porcelain or even furniture like antique dining chairs – is often more expensive, as the auction house typically includes a buyer’s premium. Of course, this may be preferable for the seller, who could get a little more money. The couple’s art collection, valued around €100 million, has been donated to the National Gallery of Ireland.
The auction will take place in London on 6th November, at Sotheby’s.
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