The Wallace Collection

Exhibitions & Displays

The Middle - Tom Ellis at the Wallace Collection

Thursday 15th September, 2016 - Sunday 27th November, 2016

Price: Admission Free

In this free exhibition, British artist Tom Ellis presents a newly commissioned series of works pairing his enigmatic figurative paintings with self-made furniture.



The combination reflects the unique and eclectic profile of the Wallace Collection, which holds a collection of both fine and decorative art. The Wallace Collection presents paintings, porcelain, sculpture and furniture alongside each other, displaying the works so as to enrich the experience of the audience rather than dividing the pieces by media, era or country of origin.

Showcased in a former home, Hertford House, the Wallace Collection evokes the domestic atmosphere of a private collection and this resonates strongly with Ellis’ approach. His artistic practice places paintings and furniture side by side, to create juxtapositions within the gallery space that address and question viewers’ expectations. Usually furniture and paintings are found together in a domestic setting or scene. By combining these elements Ellis explores concepts of public and private space, examining how the status of the space impacts the objects displayed within it and how the objects themselves relate to one another. The exhibition also invites contemplation on how and why a private collector might present their collection in a certain way, an issue which is at the heart of the Wallace Collection. Visitors to the museum will be able to encounter Ellis’ work across three spaces: the Front State Room, the exhibition galleries, and before even entering Hertford House, on the front lawn.

The Wallace Collection has been exhibiting contemporary art in dialogue with its historic collection for over a decade. Partnerships with contemporary artists contribute to reappraisals of the collection and its display and enable the museum to engage with the artists of today.



In addition to The Middle, Tom Ellis and the Wallace Collection are working in partnership with the charity Paintings in Hospitals to create a display entitled Works Like People II in GP practices and waiting rooms. This project will reflect themes posed within the exhibition, its context within the Wallace Collection and the possibility for engagement and disengagement in aesthetically complex spaces. This project will run from June 2016 through to the end of the exhibition.

Want to know more?

Listen to Tom Ellis in conversation about 'The Middle' with Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art curator Paul Pieroni, at the Arts Club.


The Middle - Tom Ellis at the Wallace Collection

Press clippings and media for this exhibition.

'The three installations represent an uncompromisingly intellectual – and surprisingly fun – meditation on the very nature of museum displays'

Digby Warde-Aldam, Apollo Magazine

'It's a really lovely way of making the old feel fresh'

Francesca Gavin, The Monocle Arts Review

'The Middle asks the right questions, providing a two-way dialogue between an artist and an institution that is rarely seen.' 

Anna Souter, The Upcoming