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The Wallace Collection is a museum in London, with a world-famous range of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with large holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms & armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 25 galleries.
It was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800–1870), who left it and the house to his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace (1818–1890), whose widow bequeathed the entire collection to the nation. The museum opened to the public in 1900 in Hertford House, Manchester Square, and remains there, housed in its entirety, to this day. A condition of the bequest was that no object ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions. Admission is free.
The Wallace Collection is a non-departmental public body.
The museum's collection numbers nearly 5,500 objects and is best known for its quality and breadth of eighteenth-century French paintings, Sèvres porcelain and French furniture.
The Wallace Collection also displays many other treasures, such as two paintings by Titian, five Rembrandts, nine Rubenses, four Van Dycks, eight Canalettos, nineteen Bouchers, masterpieces by de Hooch, nine Teniers, Frans Hals, nine Murillos, two Velázquez and paintings by Domenichino, Cima, Daddi, Reni, Rosa, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Antoine Watteau, Nicholas Lancret, Jan Steen, Aelbert Cuyp and nine Guardis. The museum also holds a fine collection of arms and armour, featuring both European and Oriental objects, as well as displays of gold boxes, miniatures, sculpture and medieval and Renaissance works of art such as maiolica, glass, bronzes and Limoges enamels.
The works of art in the Collection comprise:
Large Drawing Room - Contains some of the most spectacular works by the French furniture-maker, Andre-Charles Boulle
Part of the Wallace Collection's great ensemblage of Sèvres porcelain
In 2000 the inner courtyard was given a glass roof a restaurant was started named "Cafe Bagatelle" after their collectors' chateau Bagatelle. The Wallace Restaurant is now run by Peyton and Byrne as a French-style brasserie. The architect was Rick Mather.
The Wallace Collection is split into six curatorial departments, Pictures and Miniatures, Ceramics and Glass, Sculpture and Works of Art, Arms and Armour, Sèvres porcelain and Gold Boxes and Furniture.
The Wallace Collection's Old Master paintings represent some of the finest works of art in the world, executed by most of the leading artists of their period. The paintings include important works from all periods between the fourteenth to the mid-nineteenth century.
The Wallace Collection is particularly strong in Dutch and Flemish paintings of the seventeenth century and in eighteenth and nineteenth-century French paintings, though there are also outstanding works by English, Italian and Spanish artists. Strengths of the collection include examples by Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Gainsborough, François Boucher, Fragonard, Murillo, Titian, Poussin and Velázquez.
The inventory of pictures, watercolours and drawings comprises all the major European schools.
François Boucher - Mars and Venus
Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Musical Contest, 1754-55
Jean-Marc Nattier - The Comtesse de Tillières, 1750
Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Halt during the Chase, c. 1718-20
Francesco Guardi - The Dogana with the Giudecca, c. 1775
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Marriage of the Virgin, 1670
The Wallace Collection contains the richest and most distinguished museum collections of eighteenth-century Sèvres porcelain in the world. It includes 137 vases, 80 tea wares, 67 useful wares, 3 biscuit figures and 130 plaques (mostly on furniture), and was acquired by the Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace between c. 1802-75.
The Wallace Collection holds one of the most important collections of French furniture in the UK, and ranks alongside the Musée du Louvre, the Royal Collection, Waddesdon Manor, the collections of the Duke of Buccleuch, the Getty Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art as one of the greatest and most celebrated in the world. Totalling more than five hundred pieces, the collection consists largely of eighteenth-century French furniture but also includes some significant pieces of nineteenth-century French furniture, as well as interesting Italian furniture and a few English and German pieces. The collection ranges from cabinet furniture, much of which is veneered with brass and turtleshell marquetry (commonly known as "Boulle" marquetry) or with wood marquetry, to seat furniture, clocks and barometers, gilt-bronze items including mounted porcelain and hardstones, mantelpieces, mirrors, boxes and pedestals. One highlight of the collection is the major collection of furniture attributed to André-Charles Boulle (1642–1732), perhaps the best-known cabinet-maker ever to have lived.
Joseph Baumhauer - 1 item;
André-Charles Boulle - 22 items;
Martin Carlin - 4 items;
Adrien Delorme - 2 items;
Étienne Doirat - 1 item;
Étienne Levasseur - 5 items;
Alexandre-Jean Oppenord - 3 items;
Jean Henri Riesener - 10 items;
Bernard I Van Risen Burgh - 1 item;
Nicolas Sageot - 2 items;
Adam Weisweiler - 4 items;
from Wallace Collection
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