It was some time coming, but in the end it was worth it! The Firebirds’ inaugural event at the Wallace Collection was well attended by a lively and enthusiastic crowd, who were clearly pleased to get together and keen to catch up on everyone’s news.
We started with lunch in the Wallace Restaurant, which is situated in a covered courtyard dotted with trees and sculptures. After a light and delicious two course meal, the party was split into two groups and taken by guides Midori and Cynthia to view some of the highlights of the collection. The expert guide lecturers were both passionate about their subject and exceedingly generous with their time.
Highlights of the day included paintings of Madame de Pompadour by Boucher, The Swing and The Souvenir by Fragonard, Mrs Mary Robinson by Gainsborough, Miss Nelly O’Brien by Reynolds and, of course, The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals. We saw pieces of exquisite furniture, including stunning examples of work by Andre-Charles Boulle, who is generally considered to be the pre-eminent artist in the field of marquetry.
The collection also includes pieces of Sevres porcelain, the finest being the inkstand by Jean-Claude Duplessis. A favourite was an adorable gold and enamel scallop-shaped Snuffbox made by Jean Ducrollay in 1744, with radiating peacock’s feathers.
The lunch and the guided tours were a great success and many of the Firebirds may well return to explore the collection in their own time.
Angela Chambers (Pewterers)