I love modern art (not post-modern art so much with people vomiting on canvases and the like) and also Tudor era artwork (mainly because I love the Tudor dynasty and all of the reforms). But generally, everything in between is lost on me and particularly the artwork of the 1700s. The paintings look so realistic that the talent is undeniable, but I can’t seem to get behind it. I like to be able to make interpretations or even see the artist’s interpretation rather than a straight copy of what the artist can see.
That is not to say there is any less talent because one has to be rather adept to get exact likeness to the person they are painting or to the landscape. But the “Swinging 1760s” and similar styles are what is featured at The Wallace Collection in central London.
“In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, four generations of the Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace amassed one of the finest collections of art ever assembled by one family. Enjoy world famous works of art, such as Hals’s The Laughing Cavalier, Fragronard’s The Swing, and Rembrandt’s Titus, the Artist’s Son. Visit the room which contains more pieces of Marie-Antoinette’s furniture than any other in the world, come face to face with equestrian battle armour, and discover the secrets held within a sparkling collection of gold boxes; all in the sumptuous yet intimate surroundings of Hertford House.”
I did not know about this gallery until I searched for some more free galleries around town and decided to check it out. I was surprised to know there was an extensive collection of weapons and armored suits within the same building as delicate paintings, china, and fixtures, but alas, it was incredible to see and a beautiful space with its own library and cafe.
There were hundreds of paintings on display. Every inch of the walls were covered and there were additional center cases that had light sensitive drawings and miniature pictures. Several statues were also on display that had really incredible marble work to show. And on top of what was showcased, there were several wings that were closed to the public due to renovation. It made me curious to know what else was there that we didn’t have access to.
So, while I am not a big fan of the time period, this was not a gallery to put aside. It was completely worth going to for the venue and the talent within the walls. Please feel free to look at my pictures below to get an idea of what you can see in this space.