In the world of history blogging, I am always on the look out for the next historical photo opportunity. And I was lucky enough to recently discover the most Instagrammable museum in London.
The Wallace Collection is quickly becoming the museum du jour – and its largely down to its aesthetic.
Think silk wallpaper, velvet chaise longues and more gold gilt than you can shake a stick at. Its more Mayfair members club than run-of-the-mill museum, but that’s why people love it so much.
It also has a number of other things going for it. Firstly, its a relatively small and accessible museum. You can get round it comfortably in a few hours with no fear of museum fatigue. Secondly, you don’t have to do battle with the mega-crowds you see at places like The British Museum and The National Gallery – which makes for a much more pleasurable visitor experience. And thirdly, its free! What better excuse to while away a couple of hours here?
The Wallace Collection is one of the best fine art collections in the entire world, and contains two floors worth of treasures. It is definitely the most Instagrammable museum in London and is well worth a visit – just don’t forget your camera!
Most Instagrammable Spots
Yes, even the cafe at The Wallace Collection is perfect Instagram material. Think millennial pink and palm trees, accentuated by picture-perfect afternoon tea.
Unfortunately I didn’t opt for afternoon tea when I visited, but I can let you that the carrot cake was THE best carrot cake I’ve ever had.
The Oval Drawing Room
If I am ever rich enough to have my own boudoir room, I want to make it just like the oval drawing room.
The baby-blue room plays host to two iconic French works from the Rococo period. Firstly, there is a beautiful portrait of Madame de Pompadour, Louis XVs mistress.
Secondly there is The Swing by Fragonard. Seems familiar? You may remember a copy of this painting featuring in Frozen, specifically the scene where Anna bounces around her family’s portrait gallery singing For The First Time In Forever.
The West Room
Perhaps I’m being a bit biased here, as blue is my favourite colour? Long time fans will know I love my classic portraiture, and this room is home to some of the best British portraits of the 18th Century.
Three portraits are off Mrs Robinson, a famous actress of the period. Her striking full length portrait by Gainsborough hangs with smaller works by Reynolds and Romney.
A Few More Of My Favourite Things
The Great Gallery
This gallery is truly great – its one of those rooms where you walk in and your jaw drops to the floor at the sheer scale of everything.
It contains masterworks Rembrandt, Reubens and Velazquez amongst others. You could spend hours in this room alone.
Probably the most famous work of art in this room is The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hal.
I’m not one for military history but the armour collection impressed even little old me!
It has to be the best armoury collection in Britain, if not Europe. There is an extensive collection of both oriental and European arms and armour, with the earliest pieces dating from the 9th Century (yes folks, that makes them 1000 years old!).
I particularly liked the room devoted to Renaissance arms and armour, as they had life sized exhibits of armour for men and horse. Ironically, this part of the museum used to be the stables!
The Sixteenth Century Gallery
I felt a bit sorry for this room. It seemed underappreciated. Lots of people seem to bypass it and go straight upstairs to the big paintings and portraits , but its full of treasures if you take the time to look.
The name of the gallery is a bit misleading as it houses both medieval and Renaissance works of art, many with religious themes. If you like your ecclesiastical history, you should visit.
I was particularly blown away by this 16th Century Dutch miniature triptych. I can’t even fathom how they made the miniature carvings.
These are just my personal highlights from The Wallace Collection. It also contains one of the best collections of French furniture in the world, as well as probably the best assortment of Sevres porcelain anywhere on the planet. There is so much to discover here, you are sure to find something that floats your boat.
It would be hard to disagree that The Wallace Collection is the most Instagrammable museum in London. Will you be visiting soon? Or have you already discovered its hidden treasures?