The Wallace Collection

Exhibitions & Displays

Collecting History: The Founders of the Wallace Collection

Thursday 6th November, 2014 - Sunday 15th February, 2015

Price: Admission Free

Don't miss, ending this Sunday!

A new exhibition revealing the history of the Wallace Collection and its Founders through material from the Hertford House Historic Collection and Wallace Collection archives.

The Wallace Collection presents Collecting History: The Founders of the Wallace Collection, an exhibition of archival material and works of art from the Hertford House Historic Collection. This eclectic display will feature prints, engravings, photographs, inventories, and more from throughout the history of the Collection, much of which has never before been on public display.

The terms of the Wallace Collection’s bequest are that it is not allowed to add to its main collection, which remains as it was when left to the nation in 1897. However the acquisition of archival material and artworks to help illuminate the rich history of the Collection and the lives of its founders has always been permitted.

The exhibition will examine how from the middle of the eighteenth century four generations of the Seymour-Conway family,  Marquesses of Hertford, and Sir Richard Wallace,  the illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess, built up a spectacular collection, each displaying their own tastes and preferences for works of art of different periods. Objects from the Collection will help illustrate their choices, and a gallery trail throughout the museum will pick out more works of art acquired by each founder and allow visitors to become more familiar with the individual collecting tastes and habits. In the exhibition, portraits of the founders and their wives, and pictures of their houses, will help bring these individuals to life. The stories surrounding their lives, sometimes scandalous,  will also be explored through various media. One of the highlights of the display is a series of sensational and often hilarious satirical contemporary cartoons concerning George IV’s obsessive passion for the 2nd Marchioness of Hertford during his years as Prince Regent.


Collecting History: The Founders of the Wallace Collection
Polly and Lucy Takeing off the Restrictions, George Cruikshank, 1812, Hertford House Historic Collection (2007.36)

Press clippings and media for this exhibition.

**** 'revealing...This exhibition tells the rich story of the 18th- and 19th-century marquesses who built the Wallace Collection'.

Richard Dorment, The Telegraph