We've been making our way around London lately hitting some spots on our list of must-sees. A recent weekend took us to Manchester Square, tucked away in Marylebone, to wander through The Wallace Collection. Established in 1897, the old historic London townhouse holds a collection of French 18th-century painting, furniture, porcelain, and armory. Created by Richard Seymour-Conway, the collection was left to Sir Richard Wallace but, after his passing his widow gained rights and opened the collection for the public to enjoy in 1900. All the objects and paintings on display here never leave the Wallace Collection so you always know what you are going to see when you walk in to explore. And, since it's one of the city's many free museums to take advantage of, its a great affordable way to spend a few hours especially on a rainy or chilly day.
During your time walking through each room, your eyes will wander through just about 5,500 objects scattered across the 25 galleries. Some notable artist include Rembrandt, Jean-Antoine Watteau, and Thomas Gainsborough—but what I found most interesting was the building itself. Each room was covered in a different colored wallpaper from floor to ceiling. It was as if each room was given a color as a theme as the chairs and objects around matched it as well. My favorite were some of the darker and more vibrant rooms because the paintings on the walls popped with their more muted tones and landscape images. There was plenty of gold accents and flourishes as well as grand chandeliers to make the rooms seem nothing short of elegant. I felt as though I was stepping back in time.
As we continued through each room and up to the second floor, it was easier and easier to fall in love with this place. When I returned home from this trip, I did some further reading on the building itself and found that the original Hertford House, owned by Edward Seymour, was located in another part of Westminster. Even more interesting was that his father was the man behind the Somerset House (one of my all time favorite spots in London). Imagine coming up with plans to build such a grand place?
After being in such a fancy place, we made our way over to Sketch for some afternoon tea (more on that to come)! It just felt like the right thing to do. We had such a nice little afternoon outing exploring yet another gem that London has hidden. The Wallace Collection is open daily from 10am-5pm. We recommend having your own step-back-in-time visit and enjoying the grand colorful galleries.