Hello dearest, I hope that your summer has been just wonderful so far! I thought that I would share with you today my trip to The Wallace Collection, as it was just such a wonderful experience! I went there with a friend of mine and we took a whole afternoon to wander through the different rooms and we also had afternoon tea in their glorious courtyard restaurant. The collection is the perfect sneak peek inte the life of London’s high society some hundred years ago, so come along, let’s check it out:
One of my favourite rooms at the Wallace Collection – I just love the combination of the wallpaper and the gold frames and gold furniture
You will find the Wallace Collection just behind Selfridges, and as you enter the building you leave all modern day things behind and become surrounded by furniture, armour, porcelain, objects d’art and paintings from the 15th to the 19th century. There is a great emphasis on French 18th century furniture, with over five hundred pieces, so it almost feels like stepping into the private home of Marie Antoinette!
One of the beautiful rooms at the Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection is the result of five generations collecting souvenirs from around the world for over a century, and it includes pieces like Rembrandt’s Good Samaritan; six paintings by Canaletto, who was considered one of the finest landscape painter of his time; and a gold dagger believed to have belonged to Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor famous for having erected the Taj Mahal.
The collection was built by the First, Second, Third and Fourth Marquesses of Hertford and when the Fourth Marquess’s illegitimate son Richard Wallace inherited the collection in 1870, he bought Hertford House. When he then died in 1890, he left everything to his wife Julie-Amélie-Charlotte Castelnau, who in turn left the Wallace Collection to the nation. It opened as a museum in 1900.
A painting of Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher in 1759
The Souvenir by Jean-Honoré Fragonard at The Wallace Collection. Rousseau’s heroine, Julie carves the initial of her lover on the bark of a tree, while observed by her pet spaniel, the symbol of her fidelity.
There are spectacular paintings on display and so much to learn! For example, I found out that a dog in a paintings is a symbol of fidelity, so when the high society ladies had their portraits painted – almost like a modern day contact ad – they would often incorporate a dog in the picture to show that they possessed this trait. I personally would have loved to see more jewellery from the family, but I suppose that has gone somewhere else – there are however a few pieces on display well worth looking at: adorned with rubies, sapphires and other beautiful gemstones.
More of the paintings, again, with a glorious wallpaper as the backdrop
Oh how much I loved this room! I know that one cannot decorate a regular home like this, but I might still try…!!!
Oriental and European Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection
There is also something for the tough guys here, as you will find European and Oriental arms and armour collections with almost 2500 pieces on display. The horse outfit above I can assure you is rather intimidating when viewed from close, as it is massive!
And when you visit, do make sure that you have lunch or afternoon tea in the stunning courtyard: it is covered by a tall glass roof, so you get all the sunlight, yet you can still eat outside even if it pours down with rain – not to mention what it would be like to sit there, under the stars, on a Friday or Saturday evening and enjoy their famous French cuisine.
The Wallace Collection
And please do share your experience with us here, as we would love to hear all about it!