The Wallace Collection is an art collection in London open to the public, housed at Hertford House in Manchester Square, the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford. It comprises a world-famous collection of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with magnificent holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms and armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 30 galleries.
It was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800–1870), who left both it and the house to his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace (1818–1890), whose widow bequeathed the entire collection to the nation. The collection opened to permanent public view in 1900 in Hertford House, and remains there to this day. A condition of the bequest was that no object should ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions.
The United Kingdom is particularly rich in the works of the ancien régime, purchased by wealthy families during the revolutionary sales, held in France after the end of the French Revolution. The triumvirate of The Wallace Collection, Waddesdon Manor and The Royal Collection, all three located in the United Kingdom, forms arguably the largest, most important and extant collection of French 18th decorative arts in the world, rivalled only by the triumvirate of the Musée du Louvre, Château de Versailles and Mobilier National in France.
The Wallace Collection is a non-departmental public body and admission is free.