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Russborough House has decided not to sell an important Rubens oil painting for which it obtained an export licence earlier this year.

The painting, titled "Portrait of a Monk, Bust-Length," was one of three by Rubens for which Russborough obtained an export licence on March 16th last. The other two are among a group of nine pictures from Russborough due to be auctioned at Christie’s in London in the coming weeks.

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Over the past four decades, the art collection at Russborough House has drawn both the attention of I.R.A. thieves and the interest of more than a million visitors to this 18th-century Georgian mansion.

Soon that collection will be smaller, though, thanks to a decision by the foundation that oversees the house to sell off nine artworks, including six old master paintings by the likes of Rubens, David Teniers the Younger and Francesco Guardi, at Christie’s in London next month.

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