An impressive collection of artwork held within Hertford House collected over the 18th and 19th centuries by British aristocratic family the Seymour's, the house and it's contents are now a national museum
An impressive collection of artwork held within Hertford House collected over the 18th and 19th centuries by British aristocratic family the Seymour's, the house and it's contents are now a national museum. This varied collection sits within what was once one of the families London properties, Hertford House occupies a prime spot on Manchester Square W1 and it's contents were largely accumulated by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (b. 1800 – d. 1870) and eventually bequeathed to the nation in 1897 by Lady Wallace. Lady Wallace was the widow of the 4th Marquesses illegitimate son Richard Wallace, it was to him that his father left the house and the entire collection on his death in 1870. Three years after the bequethment in 1900 the collection was arranged into numerous galleries and opened to the public where it has remained open and largely unchanged for over a century, Lady Wallace stipulated in the terms that no pieces were to be sold or even loaned and admission is free of charge.
Here to be seen are paintings, furniture, Sèvres porcelain, arms and armour totalling 5,500 objects in all. These exquisite pieces, some dating back to the 15th century are arranged into 25 approachable galleries. A particular specialist genre is French 18th century paintings and the Wallace Collection holds a significant number of Old Masters works. All the big-hitters are included; Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens,Velázquez, Van Dyck and Canaletto.
The museum has recently appointed a new Director, Dr Xavier Bray, an esteemed and experienced curator who has worked for world-famous institutions including the National Gallery, London and the Museum of Fine Arts, Bilbao and curated numerous high calibre exhibitions worldwide. Bray released a statement describing the Wallace Collection as a place where one can enjoy “an intimate relationship with great art”.
Hertford House a townhouse dating back to the 16th century is found close to Selfridges, Bond Street, the inner courtyard was enclosed in with a glass roof and there is now a French brasserie style restaurant – Cafe Bagatelle. This restaurant is inspired by the Seymour-Conway families' purchase of the Parisian Château de Bagatelle restaurant in 1835. The house itself first belonged to the 1st Earl of Hertford (b. 1539 – d. 1621) who also embarked on the construction of the Strand's iconic Somerset House but deceased before it's completion. The Earl's father was the brother of Queen Jane Seymour, the 1st Duke of Somerset he was executed for felony on Tower Hill in 1552.
The Wallace Collection
Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
Every day 10:00 – 17:00