Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Wallace Collection at Manchester Square - a vast gallery not to be missed

The last time round, I wrote about 5 things to do in London if you have done all the touristy things. Well, this one came up just after that post. Curiously, I never got the chance to pay The Wallace Collection at Manchester Square a visit whenever I was in the vicinity. With Selfridges to the south and Maryleborne to the north, you could hardly blame me.


The Wallace Collection was left to the British nation by the widow of Sir Richard Wallace after her death on a sole condition - nothing ever gets added or removed from the Collection. As a result of that, not a single art piece that you see in the Collection would ever be loaned to any other museums. Best of all, admission's free.

Other than countless portraits of the Tatlers of a past era, the mansion was stocked full of French furniture belonging to King Louis of France, bought by Richard Seymour-Conway, the 4th Marquess of Hertford at a 'relatively affordable price but still not cheap by any standards', as told to us by the guide, to avoid complete destruction by the Republicans.

Queen Victoria when she was just 19 years of age

One could easily spend a whole day (and I kid you not) at The Wallace Collection. Opened every single day from 10am to 5pm except for Christmas and Boxing Day, it is definitely the place to be to escape the maddening crowds along Oxford Street.


Can't finish everything at one go, fret not, head towards the bright skylight lit cafeteria in the courtyard. One thing is for sure, I highly recommend the free guided tour. Check out the timings for that one the The Wallace Collection's website. The hour long guide will bring you through the more significant pieces and more importantly the intriguing stories behind each of them.

Hertford House
Manchester Square
London W1U 3BN
Tel: 0207 563 9500

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FĂ«anor said...

Ah, I see you've discovered the wonders of Wallace. When I last went there about a year ago, there was scaffolding all over the place, but that didn't stop them from organising a lunchtime talk and tour. Good fun, too.

William K Wallace said...

I haven't been to the Wallace Museum yet, I might head there one of these days when I'm in the mood for such a place, and the price is just about right for me...!