The Wallace Collection archives hold records relating to the founders of the collection (the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace) and the history of the museum from its foundation in 1897. The Wallace Collection also collects archives which relate to its subject specialist areas of French eighteenth century art, princely arms and armour and the history of collecting.
Hertford and Wallace family, art collectors: papers
When Lady Wallace died in 1897 no records were included in her bequest to the Nation of the works of art on the ground and first floor of Hertford House. The records held on the founders of the museum have been collected subsequently and are by no means complete, they include:
- Inventories of the contents of properties owned by the family.
- Correspondence of the 3rd Marquess of Hertford, the 4th Marquess of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, some of which relates to their collecting habits.
- Receipts detailing some of the purchases of the 4th Marquess of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace.
- Sir Richard Wallace’s visitors’ book to Hertford House.
- Details of loans to exhibitions by the 4th Marquess and Sir Richard Wallace, including the Art Treasures exhibition, Manchester, 1857; the Musée Rétrospectif exhibition, Paris, 1865; and the Bethnal Green exhibition, 1872.
- Copies of wills of most of the Founders and Lady Wallace.
The Hertford and Wallace family archive is not currently catalogued. A basic box list does exist however which is available here: http://www.wallacecollection.org/uploads/File/04collection/research/archive-index.pdf
In addition to the archive there also exists a series of information files on the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, these consist of articles or research on the founders and have been compiled by previous members of Wallace Collection staff. For further details on the information files please contact the Archivist and Records Manager.
The Wallace Collection also holds papers relating to the history of the part of the collection which was not included in Lady Wallace’s bequest. These can be found in:
- Sir John Murray Scott, adviser and secretary to Lady Wallace: papers
The Wallace Collection: records
The Wallace Collection opened in June 1900 and, apart from closures during the First and Second World Wars to ensure the safety of the Collection, has been open ever since. Records in the archive which can be used to chart the history of the museum include:
- Reports on the housing of the Collection following Lady Wallace’s bequest.
- Trustees’ minute books and correspondence.
- Records relating to the evacuation and storage of the collection during the First and Second World Wars.
- Details of exhibitions held at the Wallace Collection.
- Establishment records giving information on members of staff from the opening of the museum.
- Records of refurbishment projects including the Centenary Project of 1997-2000.
The Wallace Collection archive is currently uncatalogued. Part of the archive has been included in the same box list as the family archive above. In addition the National Archives at Kew hold administrative records of the Wallace Collection dating from 1897-1979, these can be searched via the National Archives catalogue - Discovery.
The Wallace Collection also collects archives detailing the work and achievements of its former directors. Currently only one has been catalogued:
- Sir Francis Watson, former director of The Wallace Collection: papers, 1932 - 1996
The Wallace Collection seeks to collect archives relating to our subject specialist areas, below is a list of the collected archives organised by subject type. For more information on them please see the archive catalogue.
French 18th century Art
- Geoffrey de Bellaigue, decorative arts scholar and former director of the Royal Collection: papers, c. 1752 – 2010.
- Lady Dilke, French art historian: photographs, late 19th century – 1904.
- Hans Ottomeyer, French gilt bronze scholar: papers, c. 1980 – c. 1987.
Princely Arms and Armour
- Claude Blair, arms and armour scholar and curator: papers, c. 1886 – 2010.
- Christian Cederberg, spur scholar: papers, c. 1960s – c. 2000s.
- Rosalind Lowe, biographer of Samuel Rush Meyrick: papers, 1800 – 2003.
- Samuel Rush Meyrick, arms and armour collector and scholar: papers, 17th century – 1884.
- Anthony North, arms and armour scholar: papers, c. 1970 – c. 2012.
- Clive Wainwright, scholar, antiquary and museum curator: papers, c. 1945 – c. 1991.
The History of Collecting
- Herbert Bier, art dealer: papers, 1912 – 1997.
- Anatole Demidoff collection of related research papers, c. 1850 – c. 2000.
- Henry Fawcett, print dealer: letters, c. 1870 - c. 1891.
- Gaugain family, painters and engravers: correspondence, 1813 – 1836.
- Frank Herrmann, publisher, author and history of collecting scholar: papers, 1917 – 2014.
- Comte de Nieuwerkerke, collector: papers, 1626 – 1893.
Access and contact information
The archives held at the Wallace Collection are available by appointment only, additionally some material may be restricted as it awaits cataloguing. Please contact the Archivist & Records Manager to book an appointment.
Tuesdays – Fridays, 10 am – 5 pm.