Wallace Collection

In a city replete with small but perfectly formed museums, few are more delightful than London’s Wallace Collection in Marylebone. It has an astonishing array of historical armour, cases full to bursting of rare ceramics, rooms lined with antique Japanese cupboards and European chairs. But best of all is its range of paintings, from huge rococo Boucher canvases, graphic Jan Weenix still lifes, dark Murillo religious visions, gorgeous Velasquez portraits, sweeping mythological landscapes by Rubens and Reynolds, Hals’s famous Laughing Cavalier, a gaudy Fragonard, Poussin, a marvellous selection of Van Dycks. There’s also a luminous Daphnis and Chloe by Pisano which demonstrates exactly what inspired the pre-Raphaelites. It’s hard to imagine a treasurehouse that offers such a spectrum of artistic styles and, as such, the Wallace Collection must be cherished for ever.

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