Suzanne Higgott, Wallace Collection Curator of Glass, Limoges Painted Enamels, Earthenware and Early Furniture has researched and published on Sir Richard Wallace's collecting interests and his personal contribution to the Wallace Collection in her new book Sir Richard Wallace: Connoisseur, Collector & Philanthropist.
Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890), renowned connoisseur, collector and philanthropist, led a remarkable life. Born illegitimately in London, he was the likely son of the immensely wealthy, Paris-based British aristocrat Richard Seymour-Conway, from 1842 the 4th Marquess of Hertford. Wallace was brought up in the Parisian household of the 3rd Marchioness of Hertford and acted as Lord Hertford’s secretary and art agent until unexpectedly inheriting a fortune from him in 1870 and moving to England in 1871-2. Inheriting Hertford’s outstanding collection, he extended its range through the addition of superb European arms and armour and medieval and Renaissance decorative arts. In Britain, he is best known for the Wallace Collection, perhaps the greatest single art collection ever gifted to a nation. It was bequeathed by his French widow, Lady Wallace, undoubtedly in fulfilment of his wishes. In France, he is remembered for great acts of philanthropy during the upheavals of the Prussian siege of Paris and the Commune in 1870-71, and especially for his gift to the city of the ‘Wallace’ fountains, which are still produced today and found in Paris and beyond.
This book was first published in 2018 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Wallace’s birth. This 2022 reprinting with revisions includes revised information about the route most visitors would have taken through Hertford House – the home to the Wallace Collection – when the Wallace's lived there, and two additional interior photographs of the house in the Wallace’s time.