- Francis Russell
(b ?Dublin, March 11, 1701; d Dublin, Oct 2, 1783).
Irish politician, patron and collector. He was the heir to a Dublin brewery and sat in the Irish House of Commons from 1743 until 1756; he was created Viscount Russborough in the peerage of Ireland in 1760 and Earl of Milltown in 1763. The scale of the fortune Leeson inherited was matched by the distinction of Russborough, near Blessington, Co. Wicklow, the mansion built for him in 1742–55 by Richard Castle. It is unquestionably one of the finest Palladian houses in Ireland. Leeson’s taste in architecture was complemented by that for pictures and was fortified by two visits to Italy, the first in 1744–5, the second, accompanied by his son Joseph Leeson (1730–1801; later 2nd Earl of Milltown) and nephew Joseph Henry of Straffan, in 1750–52. Among the paintings Leeson acquired were Lorenzo Lippi’s Angelica and Medoro (c. 1645) and Giovanni Paolo Panini’s Campo Vaccino and The Colosseum...