Having been closed for the past 2 years; The Wallace Collection’s Great Gallery has reopened after a £5m refurbishment. The Great Gallery contains paintings by masters including Rubens, Velazquez and Titian. The space is considered to be one of the finest picture galleries in the UK; the Great Gallery was built at the rear of Hertford House, a grand London town-house, in the 1870s to accommodate its collection.
The gallery holds some of the most famous 17th Century European paintings in the country. Many famous works have returned to its freshly silk-covered walls; where paintings including Frans Hals’ ‘The Laughing Cavalier’, Velazquez’s ‘Lady with a Fan’, Poussin’s ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’, Rubens’ ‘The Rainbow Landscape’, and Titian’s ‘Perseus and Andromed’, now hang again, for the enjoyment of the viewer.
The restoration also involved raising the ceiling to allow in natural light to enter the space as original design intended; but with the addition of the careful control of a high-tech lighting system to ensure a safe environment for the the Great Gallery’s paintings. The renovation was paid for by the Monument Trust, a charity set up by the Sainsbury family – who have a prestigious history and long held interest in British art.
The Great Gallery was built by Sir Richard Wallace who was illegitimate son of the Fourth Marquess of Hertford. Sir Richard inherited the collection after his father’s death.