Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Munnions And Gorgets!

Oh the joys of time of for half term, and the privilege of being able to visit London and see both daughters and their blokes. Bob and I spent a delightful couple of hours at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square, just behind Oxford Street. Entry is FREE


The Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the wonderful works of art collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. It was bequeathed to the British nation by Sir Richard's widow, Lady Wallace, in 1897. According to the information beside Lady W’s portrait, all Sir Richard’s forebears, and he himself, amassed this vast collection over a number of years. Then the widowed, and childless, Lady Wallace - whom he met when she was ‘a shop assistant in Paris’ and ‘had no interest in art’ – bequeathed it all to the nation. I got the feeling that the good lady may have been considered ‘not quite our class, dear’ by the person who was preparing the display!!

It is a great museum, with furniture and armoury and loads of great art – including two very famous paintings which I was thrilled to see ‘in the flesh’ [should that be ‘on the wall’ ?] for the first time.

Franz Hals ‘Laughing Cavalier’


and Fragonard’s ‘the Swing’

fragonard swing

In the armoury section, there was a really helpful glossary of terms for parts of armour [gorgets protect your neck, and munnions are attached to them to protect the shoulder and upper arm] I just love learning new words like that!

I loved the maiolica too, including some beautifully coloured pieces made in Urbino 450 years ago, and amazingly still intact, like this bowl – richly decorated in wonderful blues, greens, reds and yellows…

wallace collection maiolica

I am afraid my entire visit was full of Ooohs! and Aahs! and “come and look at this Bob!” He seemed to enjoy himself too – here he is relaxing outside afterwards, on one of the benches by the fountain.


I was amused by the ‘water feature’ at the nearby Lacoste shop – the yellow sign says ‘danger of crocodiles’


One other comment for art lovers – on Saturday night, one of the teenagers said “Angela, do you like Corot?” – fortunately, just as I was about to express surprise at her interest in the French Realist Painters, I suddenly twigged that she was talking about Coronation Street!!

How confused would she have been if I had said “I prefer Millet”?

Corot’s ‘Macbeth and the three Witches’ is in the Wallace Collection.

corot macbeth and witches, wallace colleciton

More on our London Trip later. I am not going to spend all my holiday at the PC blogging. Mags- you can find the scone recipe on the blog, posted on October 2nd [I suspect that was at the time when you were laid aside with lurgy!]


  1. I first discovered the Wallace Collection when I was at college, and spent many a happy hour there. It's not so well known, or as crowded as other Art Galleries.
    Have a restful week.

  2. what a great place and very unusual for it to have free admission,

    Gill in Canada


  3. Oh, I AM envious! What a fabulous way to spend a day...

    Blessings, Debbie

  4. Lurgy? Who is Lurgy? Should I tell PC about this?...


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!