I recently paid a visit to the Wallace Collection. Slightly hidden away in central London it’s a museum in a town house displaying a collection of artwork, furniture, armour and porcelain.
The collection was bequeathed to the nation in 1897 by Lady Wallace and was amassed by over five generations of the family. Below is a selection of some of the items you can see at the collection. The collection is free to visit but largely relies on its own income generation to keep going, so I’d encourage you to visit if you get the chance.
The Back State Room is a tribute to King Louis XV and his mistress, Madame de Pompadour.
I really liked the inkstand, below, which was given by Louis XV to his daughter Marie-Adelaide. The terrestrial globe contained the inkwell, the crown of France contained a bell with the cushion it sits on containing the sponge on which to wipe the nib of your pen. The celestial globe was a sand shaker for drying ink on the page.
One of the most impressive aspects is the armoury. The Oriental armoury had some absolutely beautiful pieces, but as they were all behind glass I didn’t try to take any pictures of them. I did manage to take some photos in the European armoury, the centrepiece being these two horses.
Above is one of only two pieces of equestrian armour in the country and is rare because it almost complete. It is South German in origin, c1480-1500. Below is another German piece, made up of several black and gold armours c1532-6.
The cabinet, below, is attributed to Andre-Charles Boulle, famous for his use of marquetry (applying pieces of veneer as decoration). This cabinet shows marquetry of wood and metals such as pewter, brass and copper.
One of the elaborate fireplaces in the collection.
Above, part of the large drawing room, one wall of which is taken up by an impressive bookcase, and dominated by another impressive lighting feature.
This is only a sample of the many things you can see in the collection, and I’d definitely like to make a return visit some day.
Information taken from a personal visit, Wikipedia and the Wallace Collection Guidebook. All photos my own.