SMALL ART MUSEUMS: THE WALLACE COLLECTION

The Wallace Collection is an art collection in London open to the public, housed at Hertford House in Manchester Square, the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford. It comprises an extensive collection of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th, including Old Master paintings, arranged into 30 galleries.

It was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800–1870), who left both it and the house to his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace (1818–1890), whose widow bequeathed the entire collection to the nation. The collection opened to permanent public view in 1900 in Hertford House, and remains there to this day. A condition of the bequest was that no object should ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions.

The Wallace Collection comprises about 5,500 works of art. This includes 18th-century French art: paintings, furniture, porcelain, sculpture and gold snuffboxes of the finest quality and often with illustrious provenances from great collections; 16th- to 19th-century paintings by some of the greatest names of European art, such as Titian, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Hals, Velázquez, Gainsborough and Delacroix; the finest collection of princely arms and armour in Britain; and medieval and Renaissance objects including Limoges enamels, maiolica, glass and bronzes. Paintings, furniture and porcelain are displayed together to recreate the atmosphere of the grand private collections of the 19th century.

The Wallace Collection is a non-departmental public body and admission is free.

A Tour of the Wallace Collection by the Young Curators 2018