London, The Wallace Collection 30.9.05
Posted by Lisa Hill on December 11, 2005
London, Friday 30.9.95, The Wallace Collection
This morning we tried breakfast at The Forum, across the road from The British Museum and then set off to meet friends from the Booker Prize internet book group. Marion had suggested The Wallace Collection as a place to meet, so we made our first venture onto the tube.
This was a chastening experience. Our hotel was adjacent to Russell Square, our ‘local’ shops were in Tavistock Road, and the stations we used to get around were the scene of the London bombings just three months ago – so, while not exactly nervous, we were conscious of a slightly strained atmosphere and the need to be respectful of people’s feelings because just beneath the surface, some of them still seemed to be in shock.
We had a lovely time exploring the Wallace. It’s nice to see the paintings as they belong in a house, rather than ‘curated’. The terms of Lady Wallace’s Will were that nothing should be added or taken away so there’s some dross amongst the treasures by Gainsborough, Rubens, Van Dyk and so on, but mostly it is wonderful. There were half a dozen Canalettos too, my favourites, most of them with that little white dog that he includes so often. Tim liked the armoury and was disappointed that he couldn’t have a photo of a massive horse got up in full armour.
Marion treated us to a scrumptious lunch at the Bagatelle Restaurant, and within five minutes we were chatting away as if we had known each other for ages. How nice it is to have some friends in London, and fellow booklovers at that!