Recently-sold Dutch masterpiece has Piltown connection

Jean-Etienne Liotard painting was owned for years by 2nd Earl of Bessborough

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

A Dutch girl at Breakfast.

A Dutch girl at Breakfast.

Sam Matthewssam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie @SamAMatthewsKP

A prized work of art, which recently achieved a world record auction price for a piece by Jean-Etienne Liotard, has an interesting Kilkenny connection.

Liotard's A Dutch Girl at Breakfast fetched £4.4 million at Sotheby's 'Old Masters' sale in London. The painting was bought from the artist 250 years ago by the 2nd Earl of Bessborough, William Ponsoby, and remained in the possession of his relatives since.

As chief secretary for Ireland in the mid-18th Century, Ponsonby's Irish seat was none other than classical-style Bessborough House in Piltown, which is of course now home to the Kildalton Agricultural College.

The stunning painting will now be displayed at its new Dutch home, the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour, from mid-January.