- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Mobile AppDownload Fodor's City Guide App for FREE!
Wallace Collection Review
This exquisite labyrinth of an art gallery is housed in Hertford House, an 18th-century mansion that was bequeathed to the nation, along with its contents, by the widow of Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890). Wallace was the last in a line of wealthy aristocrats who voraciously scoured Europe in search of beautiful art. His father, the 4th Marquess of Hartford, was a particularly shrewd dealer. After the French Revolution he took a house in Paris, where he went about snapping up paintings by what were then dangerously unpopular artists, for a song. Frans Hals's Laughing Cavalier is probably the most famous painting here, or perhaps Jean-Honoré Fragonard's The Swing, which perfectly encapsulates the frilly Rococo decadence and playful eroticism of pre-revolutionary French art. The full list of painters in the collection reads like a roll call of classical European masters, from Rubens, Rembrandt, and Van Dyck to Canaletto, Titian, and Velázquez. English works include paintings by Gainsborough and Turner, plus a dozen by Joshua Reynolds. There are also fine collections of furniture, porcelain, Renaissance gold, and maiolica (15th and 16th century Italian tin-glazed pottery). As if the holdings aren't incentive enough to visit, the conditions of the bequest mean that no part of the collection can leave the building, so this is literally the only place in the world you'll ever see these works. Stay for lunch at the restaurant, which is elegantly sited in a glass-roofed courtyard.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $133 & up -- London: 4-Star Hotel near City Center, $200 Off Mercure London Bridge Hotel
- $1999 -- British Isles: 7-Night Windstar Cruise, 70% Off Windstar Cruises
- $1799 & up -- 'World's Best': Luxe European Cruises, 70% Off — $1,799 Windstar Cruises
We recently came back from a one week trip to London and found it thrilling. Read more
As promised I am making recommendations for places as separate threads so that they will be easily searchable when others are looking for recommendations.
Pubs: (New Town)
The Queen's Arms (Frederick Read more
My husband and I are flying into Brussels in September and plan on flying out of London. Read more
· News & Features
It's been about 18,000 hard day's nights (er, 50 years) since The Beatles changed rock 'n' roll. ... Read more
A trophy trip for teens, a storybook vacay for toddlers, a sophisticated city break for grown-ups... Londo... Read more
Despite the season finale, Dan Stevens (aka Matthew Crawley) was on hand to host the Big British Invite... Read more