Amassed by the Hertford-Wallace family throughout the 19th century, the collection was gifted to the nation by the widow Lady Wallace, after the death of Sir Richard Wallace in 1897 and opened to the public at the turn of the 20th century. Today, the collection is housed in the 18th-century Hertford House, a palatial townhouse set in central London’s Manchester Square.
A display of celebrated artworks and items, some dating back as early as the 15th century, are spread throughout the museum’s 25 galleries, alongside a spectacular array of medieval arms and armory from all over Europe, and a series of world-renowned Old Master paintings. The Great Gallery is one of the museum’s key attractions, home to Rubens’ Landscape With A Rainbow, an ensemble of Van Dyck portraits and a number of famous Rembrandts. A café, restaurant and gift shop make the most of the grand surroundings, and there’s also a fascinating exhibition on the collections’ vast and varied origins.