The Wallace Collection


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The Takeover Day Report

On Friday 18 November 2016, the Young Curators of St Vincent’s Primary School did a public tour of the Wallace Collection as part of the nationwide Takeover Day. The school’s newspaper team covered the tour and the objects which were explored, read on for their report!

Today was Takeover Day at the Wallace Collection, and pupils from St Vincent’s Primary School took over roles in the shop, front of house and even helped the Conservation Department. The Young Curators, group of children from Year 4 – 6, also put on a free public tour focusing on objects from around the world. The children spent a lot of time learning information about the artefacts. They did an excellent job presenting the information in a lively and interactive way.


Here is a summary of the Young Curator’s guide round some of the Wallace Collection’s stunning artefacts.

IMG_0082 The good shepherd, Sri Lanka and Goa, c. 1550 – 1600

This first object was from Goa, India which was originally owned by the Portuguese. Made with precious materials such as gold, rubies, rock crystals, emeralds, pearls and sapphires. It also contained wood. The jewels gave it a glamorous shine that appealed to all the audience. This object represents Jesus as he was a good shepherd to Christians. ‘The good shepherd’ was surrounded by two lambs which represents God’s people. It was hidden, then stolen by French troops and finally was bought by Sir Richard Wallace for £100.

IMG_0025Tipu Sultan’s sword, Delhi, India and Iran, 18th century

Staying in India, we are travelling to Missouri. From here there is a sword that possibly belonging to Tipu Sultan. This object was made out of jade which varies in colour, rubies, emeralds and the best steel. Tipu Sultan marked his belongings with a tiger symbol which can clearly be shown on this sword.

IMG_0038The Elephant incense burners, China, 1736-95

These elephants originated from Thailand and China. The elephants nowadays are becoming extinct. They are made with gold, copper and white enamel. The Summer Palace was taken over by the British Empire and these elephants could have been hidden or broken. Decorated with a vase on its back, it symbolises good luck. When one of these incense burners was present, it was thought to have meant that earth was at peace.

IMG_1878Guardi’s View of Rialto Bridge, c. 1770

This painting was originated by Venice, Italy. The reflections in the water and the light were the main features discussed with this painting. The audience were asked questions such as ‘What do you like best about the painting?’ Some lovely answers were received, such as: ‘It reminds us of the lovely places we have on our planet. A contrasting photograph was shown alongside the painting of Venice today’.

IMG_0087Thomas Gainsborough, Miss Haverfield, early 1780s

Painted with an 8ft long paintbrush, this painting came to life as the members of the audience were sent back in time. We travelled back to Kew Gardens where Miss Haverfield lived as a girl. An interview took place with Miss Haverfield as part of the tour. She told us how old she was when the painting was done and why she was wearing such grand clothes.

IMG_1880 Corner Cabinet, Jean-Henri Riesener, 1783 

Then we went to France on our tour. We were told about a corner cabinet that was created for Marie Antoinette. It is said that it is unknown what the cabinet is made from, and some say it may be made from burr.

IMG_0075Jacob van Ruisdael, Rocky Landscape, Netherlands, 1650s

Welcome to  Holland. Here we saw a painting with a rocky landscape. You can see a house on the top of a mountain, some people, a village and children. The painting is oil on canvas and was created in the 1650s. The painting evokes various moods, some of the audience members suggested time passing and nature being majestic.
IMG_0081Follower of Rembrandt, The Centurion Cornelius (The Unmerciful Servant), Netherlands, c. 1660

Still in Holland, we moved onto The Centurion. A beautiful, enormous painting of a Roman Centurion. It is said that the painting is based on the Bible story about the unmerciful servant. The painting was thought to be done by Rembrandt, however it was later found out to be done by one of his students.


The children at St. Vincent’s Catholic Primary school would like to thank the Wallace Collection for allowing us to take over for the day. The children had a wonderful time and we hope the visitors on the tour learnt a lot of new information about the objects that were chosen.

by St. Vincent’s Newspaper Club

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