London loves: The Wallace Collection

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Have you visited The Wallace Collection? Tucked in the streets behind Selfridges and overlooking the delightful, though private, Manchester Square gardens, The Wallace Collection is one of my favourite museums in London.

Frans Hals The Laughing Cavalier

The Wallace Collection’s most famous resident – The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals

Located at Hertford House the collection comprises works of art acquired during the 18th and 19th centuries by the Marquesses of Hertford.

Though largely famous for several well known paintings by Rembrandt, Velazquez and Titian, the museum is also home to an outstanding collection of european arms and armour, objects from the Renaissance period and important French furniture pieces including a desk belonging to Marie Antoinette. The collection was bequeathed to the nation in 1897.

This museum is in my top 3 for London for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s small and accessible. I suffer from what I call “culture fatigue” – I cannot spend longer than 2 hours in a museum or gallery before I start to wilt or crave a lot of sugar.

As admission to The Wallace Collection is free you can digest in manageable short visits. You can also discover different aspects of the collection – such as Renaissance objets and sculpture saving the Old Masters for another day.

Secondly, the museum does not attract the huge crowds that swarm the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square. The Wallace Collection museum experience is much more refined and especially so when you take a break in the cafe and restaurant in the light filled central atrium.

WC great gallery

The carefully curated collections are supported by knowledgeable volunteer staff who share fascinating insights into the personalities behind the collection including some tabloid worthy goings on in at Hertford House in the 18th century.

Lastly, and this was quite a surprise, I noticed that a vast number of the works on display had female subjects. From Madame Pompadour to ladies of more humble origin there is a concentration of paintings featuring women that I have not noticed in any other museum or gallery I have visited.

Admission is free and the museum is open 7 days a week, 10am – 5pm. The museum only closes for a few days over Christmas. If you have a spare hour for some culture when you are out and about shopping in Oxford Street I highly recommend a visit to this museum.   Or you could dedicate a little longer and explore some of the marvellous stories within.

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The Wallace Collection - Dutch masters, intrigue and more at this must visit museum of London

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9 Comments

  1. 29th March 2016 / 10:08 AM

    This museum looks so cool! Right up my alley, too, what with being free and all! I’ll definitely be checking this one out next time I’m in London. Thanks for sharing (what I feel like is) such a great secret! 😀

    • 29th March 2016 / 2:51 PM

      Ha! Yes I’ll take anything free in this city. You have me pegged Swags, I am fond of things a little off the beaten path ?

  2. 29th March 2016 / 1:02 PM

    I used to live less than 10 minutes’ walk from here, but despite that and more than a decade in London, I still haven’t been inside! Ridiculous. It looks even better than I’d realised though, and I love the idea of nipping in for half an hour whenever I’m next nearby. Love your photos too. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • 29th March 2016 / 2:54 PM

      Thanks Cathy, I pop in regularly and always find something interesting to see. And then off to Marylebone high street for some browsing ?

  3. 29th March 2016 / 1:18 PM

    What a cool looking museum! I’ll have to add this to my list for my next trip to London. Thanks for sharing… #citytripping

    • 29th March 2016 / 2:55 PM

      Thanks for dropping by Jennifer. I think it’s a fabulous place

  4. 29th March 2016 / 2:45 PM

    No, I haven’t been, probably should visit it soon!#citytripping

  5. 31st March 2016 / 6:58 PM

    I’m totally with you on the culture fatigue – 2 hours is plenty for me too! I’ve never been to the Wallace Collection before…one of the many London museums on my ‘list’. Thanks for reminding me on #citytripping x

  6. 1st April 2016 / 7:22 AM

    Oooh – this is another place I want to visit but it is definitely NOT something the boys would enjoy. Pinning for when I get a London trip without them! #citytripping

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