The Wallace Collection, London. Wow! …and Manolo Blanik too.

 

IMG_9866

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I rarely post images of the decorative arts.  I am typically not a fan of fussy porcelains or fine cabinetry.  I just don’t seem to have the gene that lets me appreciate that stuff.

But, today in London, I visited the Wallace Collection and it knocked my socks off.  I mean, this place is crazy!  The former mansion of the Wallace family was gifted to the country of Britain in the last years of the 19th century, and is still set up in a similar manner to the way in which the family lived.

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 19.23.54

As you might know, I’ve been to a few museums and house museums in my day, but this place is more opulent than any other.

All I can say is WOW!  And then show you some (a lot, probably too many) pictures of this amazing place.

Oh, and p.s….Manolo Blanik shoes were also on display.  I’ve never owned a pair and never will.  But, to see the shoes interspersed with the collections added an element I’d not thought of before.  My guide at the Wallace Collection told me that Blanik was an Anglophile and was particularly interested in the Wallace Collection.  This is a new point of approach for me, and I could dig it!

IMG_9939

Let’s go!

The first thing I heard in the excellent tour I joined, is that when this Japanese chest (and its matching partner) arrived in Europe, it absolutely blew the minds of connoisseurs.  They were obsessed with the black lacquer and wanted to emulate it.  They couldn’t, it turned out, because the plant that produces the lacquer did’t grow in the west.

IMG_9838

 

Here’s my guide, standing in front of the Japanese chest.

IMG_9836

That didn’t daunt them.  The king of France set up a artisanal workshop, patronizing the best of the artistic producers known to France, and they experimented and experimented, trying to produce–if not lacquer itself–at least something that looked very close to it.

IMG_9834

Above, King Louis XV, the king who developed the French fine arts.

This is the time period in which France is lifted by the decorative arts.  France would no longer import fine luxury goods–they would produce them.  It started then and is still going strong today.

The wardrobe below was produced in this workshop.

IMG_9837

IMG_9839

 

Before having a gander at the million photos I took today, introduce yourself to the Wallace Collection here with the director:

 

 

Now, please join me as I wander through the collection:

IMG_9840

 

IMG_9863

IMG_9835

 

IMG_9864

 

Can you say “opulence?”

IMG_9867

 

IMG_9868

 

IMG_9869

 

IMG_9884

 

IMG_9885

 

IMG_9886

 

IMG_9887

 

IMG_9888

 

IMG_9889

 

IMG_9890

 

IMG_9891

 

IMG_9892

 

IMG_9893

 

IMG_9894

 

IMG_9895

 

IMG_9896

 

IMG_9897

 

IMG_9898

 

IMG_9899

 

IMG_9900

 

IMG_9902

 

IMG_9959

 

IMG_9960

 

IMG_9961

 

IMG_9962

 

IMG_9963

 

IMG_9964

 

IMG_9965

 

IMG_9966

 

IMG_9969

 

IMG_9971

 

IMG_9972

 

IMG_9973

 

IMG_9974

 

IMG_9977

 

IMG_9978

 

IMG_9979

 

Also, the Wallace Collection has a lovely restaurant!

IMG_9980

 

And then, on to the armor!

IMG_9981

 

IMG_9982

 

And to a Gothic crown.  Because, why not?

IMG_9983

 

Check out the line of matching armor head pieces and shields.

IMG_9984

 

IMG_9900

 

Below: a portrait of Madame de Pompadour, commissioned by herself.  My guide told the fascinating story of this woman and her involvement with the French king, and discussed the fascinating iconography of this portrait.  Please note her tiny shoe peeking out from under her “Pompadour pink” gown, for which she set the fashion of the day.  This is the type of detail by which Blanik was inspired.  Looking at his shoes today, I could see it.

IMG_9911

IMG_9901

 

IMG_9902

 

IMG_9903

 

IMG_9906

 

And, then there is this Jean-Honoré Fragonard masterwork: The Swing (1767).

IMG_9907

 

 

IMG_9909

 

IMG_9910

 

IMG_9912

 

IMG_9913

 

IMG_9914

 

IMG_9915

 

IMG_9916

 

IMG_9917

 

IMG_9918

 

IMG_9919

 

IMG_9920

 

IMG_9921

 

IMG_9922

 

IMG_9923

 

IMG_9924

 

IMG_9925

 

IMG_9926

 

IMG_9927

 

IMG_9928

 

IMG_9930

 

IMG_9931

 

IMG_9932

 

IMG_9933

 

IMG_9934IMG_9935

 

IMG_9936

 

IMG_9937

 

IMG_9938

 

IMG_9939

 

IMG_9940

 

IMG_9941

 

IMG_9942

 

IMG_9943

 

IMG_9944

 

IMG_9945

 

IMG_9946

 

IMG_9947

 

IMG_9948

 

IMG_9949

 

IMG_9950

 

IMG_9951

 

IMG_9952

 

IMG_9953

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.