The Wallace Collection: 4 Portraits

The Wallace Collection is truly one of London’s hidden gems, centrally located, charming, and accessible to a wide variety of art-loving individuals. The history of the collection and the spectacular level of paintings, armour, porcelain, and furniture warrants an afternoon at least. I couldn’t help but pick 4 of the most exquisite  portraits  here, not least because of the historically accurate frames that they’re  in. I’m not 100% certain, but I suspect many of the Collection’s paintings were re-framed at some point. By and large they are tastefully done, but in my view, they are redolent of an over zealous need for conformity… I wonder if what we’re seeing is a collector’s urge for uniformity; in my view, the arrangements and framings knit together very strictly, not necessarily as interesting to those of us who wonder how the paintings would look in their original frames. The overall experience could have been more haphazard if we could see the works in their original frames: what we have now is harmony….(I’m sure such discussions are at times heated and laden with historical precedents amongst curators and gallerists.) For now, enjoy these 4 portraits in what I believe to be stylistically contemporary frames  for their country of origin and chronology. www.wallacecollection.org

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