Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:
Administrative / biographical background:
The Wallace Collection was built up by the third and fourth marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace in the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. It consists of eight hundred paintings, in particular drawn from the eighteenth and nineteenth century French schools and pictures by leading French, Spanish, Italian and English painters of the period. Other items, very many from France, include watercolour drawings, minatures, illuminations, bronzes, enamels, clocks, snuff boxes, ivories, medals, glass, furniture, arms and armour.
Viscount Beauchamp, later fourth marquess of Hertford, assembled most of the french 17th and 18th century furniture and minor arts, the old masters and the modern french paintings. After his death in 1870, Wallace added the arms and armour and the medieval and renaissance objects of art.
The collection is housed in Hertford House, Manchester Square, London bought by Sir Richard Wallace in 1875 and adapted to house the collection. Lady Wallace left the collection to the nation in February 1897. The terms of her will stipulated that the collection could not be lent nor added to, and had to be displayed in a central London location. A committee appointed under a Treasury minute recommended the acquisition and adaptation of Hertford House to conform to the conditions of Lady Wallace's will. Hertford House was opened to the public in 1900 by the future Edward VII.
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