French taste in the heart of London

Hello my dearest readers! Thanks for sticking with me.  It’s a real pleasure to know that I’m not just sending these out to be eaten by Galactus.

 

For this visit I made it to the amazing Wallace Collection in Soho.  It’s a mansion right at the centre of London’s wealthiest areas.  Luckily for us its free to visit!

 

Here we go:


The Wallace Collection

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The Wallace Collection is located in Hertford House.  It was the London home of the the Marquess of Hertford for generations until it passed into the hands of Richard Wallace, who was an illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess, who filled it with his French collection. Funnily enough the building was rented (or ‘let’ as they say here) to the French Ambassador at one point!  After Wallace’s death the home was converted into the Museum it is today.

 

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This place was quite the treasure trove of amazing objects.  The family had a lot of interests ranging from Old Masters paintings (think Rembrandt, Vermeer, Michaelangelo) to Weapons from Asia to Louis the XIV and XV art and furniture.  It is an amount of wealth and luxury that overwhelms the senses.

 

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Look at that decorating scheme! Red damask wall paper with gilded chair-rails.  The portrait on the right of the photo is of a young Queen Victoria sometime after her coronation.

 

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They very cleverly integrated information about each room and how it was formerly used on the doorways!  I love how they used the existing design of the door and placed photos of what it looked like before.  I’m a nosy person so I always enjoy looking at photos of houses.

 

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HORSE ARMOUR!

 

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This was a tiny little alcove in one of the ground floor rooms.  Apparently the room had these tiles all around! It would have been a site to see.  The tiles are from Iznik Turkey and are pretty commonly used as wall decor.

 

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MADAME DE POMPADOUR! This woman was THE tastemaker in the court of Louis XV.  If you have ever heard of Rococo you can thank her!  She was a writer, designer, salon holder (she made it cool for women to be educated and know about current politics/ philosophy). Lady is a BAMF

 

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The Large drawing room. So opulent and so beautiful.  The whole house is permeated with French Sevres ceramics and furniture and includes tapestries from Gobelines (both workshops were created in part because of Madame de Pompadour’s backing and her enlightenment philosphe friends). If you’re interested in how the French became synonymous for great taste, you should learn more about Madame de Pompadour.


Rating 4/5

Pros: Amazing location and building, cool galleries, lots of places to sit, something for everyone, great cafe, great shop, fantastic collections

Cons: There isn’t much explanation in the text panels, kids may find it a bit boring

Watch out for another post just about the art!

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