The Wallace Collection, that upmarket junkyard

Look at that painting. Look at that wallpaper.

Look at that painting. Look at that wallpaper.

I love the Wallace Collection. See? – I’ve written this before anyone shouts me down. What? The Wallace Collection a load of old junk? No, but wait. It’s very sophisticated junk. It’s the sort of junk you want to have clogging up the hallways of your two-up two-down.

That phrase 'Riot of Colour' applies here.

That phrase ‘Riot of Colour’ applies here.

One thing that sets a city like London apart is access to a house stuffed full of literally every art period post 12th century. Free access. OK, there’s the National Art Gallery then the Tate (old and new) then a raft of other galleries both big and small. Then if you haven’t had enough you can always just pop into a former stately home like this to see the leftovers, the spoils of war if you like, the ones that didn’t get away.

Unbridled joy

Unbridled joy

Searching high and low for The Swing, we eventually find it hidden in a smaller room (no doubt due to extensive works on the building having shut down a third of the galleries). Immediately, it becomes a talking point. Within the context of the period, it’s so rare to see joy expressed without guilt . It seems so modern.

Is a plural of Canalettos Canaletti?

Is a plural of Canalettos Canaletti?

Then a roomful of Canalettos. Surely it can’t be too much to ask to have one of them for my lounge room wall? Just a small one?

Postcards

I guess I’ll have to settle for a postcard.

HalfFinishedPortrait

This painting is unfinished. ‘Finished’ would mean that it could sit in a contemporary art gallery, the white negative space in contrast to the painted fullness of the rest of the portrait. It takes on a different meaning.

Just one of the many time pieces in the Wallace Collection

Just one of the many time pieces in the Wallace Collection

It’s not just a collection of art but also craft … and a little bit more. A room devoted to armoury for the man and his steed reminds me of the need for embellishment even in war. Whole armour is exquisite in detail, a shame it might get damaged by the odd lance.

It is a hoard of junk. Uselessly beautiful items for the wall and mantlepiece. A great collection of unessential items – that somehow make it better for us to live. Can’t wait for the renovations at the Collection to be finished.

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