In my rambling around London on Wednesday I stumbled on the Wallace Collection at Hertford House, Manchester Square. It’s a collection of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries; and part of the rich collection of the works of the ancien régime in the UK, acquired by wealthy families during the revolutionary sales, held after the end of the French Revolution. Established originally by Richard Seymour-Conway (1800-1870), it was left to the nation by his is illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace (1818–1890). Wallace achieved fame during the Siege of Paris for his charitable work – he is estimated to have privately contributed 2.5 million (1870) francs to the needy of Paris. The collection is characterised by gaudy opulence.
Photo: Bust of African Woman, Italian c. 1650, Wallace Collection, October 2018