The Wallace Collection opens its new exhibition space, celebrating 200 years since the birth of the museum’s founder, Sir Richard Wallace.
This exhibition explores the man, his life and his unprecedented contribution to the nation’s cultural heritage. The supposed illegitimate son of the Fourth Marquess of Hertford, Sir Richard Wallace unexpectedly inherited the Marquess’s dazzling collection of art, an act which was to change the direction of his own life and that of the masterpieces in his care.
A major international philanthropist and cultural luminary of his time, yet also an enigmatic and private individual, Sir Richard believed in sharing his inheritance with a wider audience. He was also a prominent collector, adding extensively to the Collection prior to his death in 1890.
Featuring 20 works collected by Sir Richard, the exhibition explores his eclectic tastes and highlights some of the unexpected treasures of the museum, including a gold trophy head from the Asante Kingdom, imperial ceremonial wine cups from China and a majestic ostrich figure made by the Augsburg silversmith Elias Zorer, plus spectacular examples of arms and armour, jewellery and more.