The legendary Great Gallery of the Wallace Collection in London—once described by Kenneth Clark as “the greatest gallery in Europe”—will reopen next September after a two-year refurbishment.
Housing masterpieces by the likes of Frans Hals, Nicolas Poussin, Diego Velázquez, and Peter Paul Rubens, it was built by Sir Richard Wallace between 1872-1875 over a mews behind his London house.
Conceived to accommodate the philanthropist’s collection ahead of its transfer from Paris to London, the Great Gallery was the climax of any visit to the Wallace residence, and was designed to impress.
The refurbishment involved the updating of the lighting system, untouched since the 1970s. Gilding and wall fabric have also been replaced, and new wood paneling was installed.
Pieces originally displayed elsewhere in the museum, including Lemoyne’s Perseus and Andromeda, have joined the Great Gallery, allowing for fresh connections to be made between the different schools of painting in Europe in the 17th century.
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