The Hertford House is the venue for the display of varied works of art contained in the 25 galleries of the Wallace Collection. Moreover, free art classes and workshops, talks and tours are also held for the visitors who come to see this collection. Hertford House is a historic London townhouse and the original family home of The Marquess of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace. 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 and is considered to be “the greatest art school in this country” by Vivienne Westwood as it is full of European paintings, miniatures and sculpture, French 18th century furniture, Sevres and Meissen porcelain, goldsmiths’ work and European and Oriental arms and armour. The collection is one of the finest collections of art that have been gathered by one family.
The original collection that was left to him by his father was built up by Sir Richard Wallace who was the illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess of Hartford. This gallery has been made a worthy rival of others in the city as it contains several Old Master paintings, notably ‘The Laughing Cavalier’, works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Reynolds, Rubens, Gainsborough, Titian and Romney.
The townhouse occupies the entire side of a garden square, along with four galleries, educational facilities and remarkable glass-roofed courtyard, which is home to Oliver Peyton’s brasserie The Wallace. Wallace’s widow had bequeathed the acquisitions to the nation and they are all free for viewing. 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 should ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions. The Wallace Collection is a non-departmental public body. There are about 5,500 objects in the museum’s collection which is best known for its quality and breadth of eighteenth century French paintings, Sevres porcelain and French furniture. Besides a fine collection of arms and armour, the museum also displays gold boxes, miniatures, sculpture and medieval and Renaissance works of art such as maiolica, glass, bronzes and Limoges enamels.