Visit The Wallace Collection

Visit The Wallace Collection

On April 13thLiveryman Andy Phillips organised a splendid visit to the Wallace Collection. This museum houses an eclectic collection of fine and decorative arts from the 15thto 19thCenturies. Located in a substantial town house in Manchester Square, for many in our party the address was familiar as the name taken by the former Manchester Square Fire Station, one of London’s most historic fire stations. Indeed; at least one of our party had served there.

Housed in Hertford House the collection was bequeathed to the nation by the widow of Sir Richard Wallace in 1897. Our guide for the morning started by elaborating the provenance of a grand staircase incorporated into the house. It was, in fact, a fine iron balustrade from the former Royal Bank in Paris. She then gave us a whirlwind tour which included Sèvres porcelain, elaborate gold snuff boxes, sculpture and paintings by French, Italian and Dutch Masters. The tour finished with a viewing of one of the most well-known paintings in the collection – Frans Hals The Laughing Cavalier, and a visit to the famous armoury, which contains some very rare pieces of the armourers art.

Our trip finished with lunch in the stylish Courtyard Restaurant in the museum. Too large and fascinating a collection to do justice to in a morning, I’m sure many of the party will return to browse this superb collection at leisure.

David Holt

PRM Committee and Events Committee member