Russborough House

Russborough House

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Name Russborough House County Wicklow Nearest Town Blessington Access Road N81 About Russborough House is a stately house situated near the Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow, located between the towns of Blessington and Ballymore Eustace.

Russborough was built for Joseph Leeson, later Earl of Milltown in 1741 and took over fourteen years to complete.

It is set in the beautiful pastoral landscape of west Wicklow.

Russborough is one of the finest Irish houses open to the public.

It is beautifully maintained and furnished with fine displays of silver, bronze, porcelain and furniture.

It is a particularly fine example of Palladian architecture without equal on the island of Ireland.

The interior of the house contrasts with the austere exterior by way of some ornate plasterwork on the ceilings by the Lafranchini brother, who also collaborated with Cassels on Carton House.

Russborough has housed two fine art collections, begun with the Milltown estate, whose collection was donated to the National Gallery of Ireland upon the death of the last Earl.

Sir Alfred Beit bought the house in 1952 where he housed his own family's collection, comprising works by many great artists.

The house was robbed four times during the seventies, eighties and nineties.

Two paintings, Gainsborough's Madame Bacelli and Vermeer's Lady writing a Letter with her Maid, the latter probably the most valuable painting of the collection, were stolen twice across the thefts, although each was subsequently recovered.

The Beit collection has donated many of its works to the state and the house remains open to the public, having been opened by the Alfred Beit Foundation in 1978.