In my free time, you’ll often find me at the Wallace Collection, one of the lesser-known museums in the heart of London—just a 10-minute walk from Oxford Street. Housed in a large townhouse on Manchester Square, the original owners of the museum bequeathed their Collection to the Nation in 1900 under the condition that none of its items were to ever be sold.
Walking through the front entrance, the first thing you’ll see is a red carpet, trailing up a large split staircase. Throughout three floors of rooms with names that conjure up their original uses—the Oval Drawing Room, Billiard Room, and Smoking Room—you’ll see the Collection’s paintings, including Baroque painter Frans Hals’ Laughing Cavalier, all displayed in ornate gold frames and hanging on walls painted in rich, traditional colors. The house’s original furniture makes up part of the collection as well—it feels like you’ve stepped back in time to the days when it had been someone’s home.
The Collection is most famous for its two-and-a-half thousand pieces of armor from Europe and Asia. Around one corner, you’ll find a full suit of armor on top of an armored horse and around the next, a large collection of traditional weapons from Asia. For me, the pleasure of the Wallace Collection is not only in seeing the objects on display, but also in the unshakeable impression that you are walking around a stately manor from the 1800’s.
~Steph Bell, ACCENT London
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