Today I am taking you to one of the most beautiful yet underrated museums in London. I had visited the Big Smoke about 7 times before moving there and I have been a Londoner for now almost 8 years, yet I only went to The Wallace Collection for the first time last Monday.
It is only a 5-minute walk from very busy Oxford Street, hidden away from the crowd on a lovely square in Marylebone. Side note, Marylebone is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in London but tourists never really venture there or if they do it is only to visit Madame Tussaud. So if you want a real flavour of London, go get lost in the streets just North of Oxford Street.
Back to the Wallace Collection. It was built over decades by the Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace. The family’s property, home to all the pieces of art, was eventually converted into a museum in 1897 and opened to the public in 1900.
You definitely get the feeling that you are entering a (very, very, very grand) family home when walking through the doors Visiting The Wallace Collection makes you feel like you are part of a small exclusive club no one knows about, away from the very big most famous London museums.
The Collection includes eighteenth-century French art, seventeenth and nineteenth-century paintings, medieval and Renaissance pieces and an extensive collection of arms and armour.
It is also home to a very elegant restaurant The Wallace, a French-style brasserie which also serves afternoon tea. You will find it in the beautiful courtyard and I can imagine it to be a great place for brunch, high tea or a date night. I have yet to try the food though, next time!
What I find the most striking at The Wallace Gallery is its interior. Each room looks like it could still be inhabited and use daily. It is very immersive in a Downton Abbey kind of way. It is a museum today, yes, but it doesn’t shy away from its family home past.
I love how each room has a theme and a colour, the rubies, emerald greens, moody mauves and royal blues remind me of the quintessential British Quality Street chocolate wrappers. Bold in colour and everyone has a different favourite!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Wallace Gallery, walking from drawing rooms to studies, from the Great Gallery to the Courtyard. For a split second in such a grand yet intimate setting I felt like I was part of the Wallace family, one can only dream…