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Wallace Collection, London

The Wallace Collection is a national museum, the contents of which were assembled by one family. Lady Wallace, widow of Sir Richard Wallace, bequeathed it to the nation in 1897.

In 1872 Sir Richard Wallace moved to London and brought with him from Paris many works of art. In 1871 he purchased the collections of Napoleon III's Director of Fine Arts, and also bought armoury collected by Sir Samuel Meyrick. He made alterations to Hertford house, his home, to display his collections.

In 1890 Sir Richard Wallace left his property to his wife (1818-97). She then left the collection and house to the nation on her death, and the house became a public museum.

The great gallery contains paintings by Titian, English portraits, 17th century paintings, and bronze statuettes. The oval drawing room is home to late 18th century French furniture, sculpture and paintings. In the small drawing room are a Canaletto and a Guardi and Louis XV furniture. English and French paintings reflecting the 18th century cult of sensibility and Louis XV and XVI furniture are found in the boudoir.

18th century French furniture and paintings and miniatures fill the west gallery. Extensive collections of renaissance arms and armour, firearms and edged weapons from the 16th to 19th centuries are found in the armory rooms. The front and back staterooms hold collections of 18th and 19th century English portraits, furniture, and Sèvres porcelain from the time of Louis XV and XVI.

Essential Information

Location: off Oxford street, nearest underground is either Bond st or Baker st
Open Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm, on Sun from noon
Café and shop
Changing exhibitions and events
Website: Wallace Collection

Insider tip: Two blocks away is Maryleboyne High street. It’s a bit confusing to find as the streets here seem to change names every block. There are several good places to eat on the High street--try Pastierre Paul for baked goodies. Also on the High street is Daunt bookstore, a travel bookstore to die for.

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