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Wallace Collection

Wallace Collection (51)

Hertford House, in Manchester Square, is currently the home to one of the most incredible private collections in the world: the Wallace Collection. The people behind such a show of opulence were the first 4 marquises of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the fourth marquis, who accumulated this catalogue of fine arts during the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1897, Lady Wallace, Sir Richard’s widow, decided to donate the collection to the nation. As conditions, she demanded that it was to be accessible to the public and that none of it was to be changed in any way at all.

The extreme luxury and quality of the pieces give a slight idea of the enormous sums of money that they must have paid out during the process of building up the Wallace Collection. Among its painting collection feature works by Rembrandt, Titian and Velázquez, as well as the portrait painted by Frans Hals entitled The Laughing Cavalier. 

Given that the fourth marquis of Hertford lived for a time in Paris, the collection also includes an enviable series of works by French painters such as Watteau, Boucher or Fragonard, of which you will be able to see The Swing.

Sculptures, furniture, decorative objects and ceramics fill up the collection which, notwithstanding, has one of its big attractions in the collection of arms and armour, making a total of 2,500 oriental and occidental pieces. 

The Indian, Turkish and Persian arms were the last cry in the Paris of the late 19th century, which lived with an eye on everything that was exotic. It can be seen that the fourth marquis of Hertford was well aware of the fashion and, in fact, if we add these objects of war to the European pieces acquired by Wallace in the 1870s, you should know that you are before one of the best collections of this type in the United Kingdom.

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