The Wallace Collection in London will start lending artworks on a temporary basis. It was announced on Tuesday that lawyers and art experts had re-examined the terms of the Lady Wallace’s will and decided they did not prevent loans, a conclusion endorsed by the UK government and the Charity Commission.
In a press release the museum stated that “although the Wallace is traditionally considered to be a ‘closed’ collection, the terms of Lady Wallace’s bequest do not expressly forbid lending or borrowing. Sir Richard Wallace himself loaned works extensively to other institutions in Paris and London, notably the Royal Academy and the Bethnal Green museum. The conclusion reached by the Trustees and the Director is that temporary loans would not be going against the bequest and this would be entirely in keeping with Sir Richard’s desire to share great art with the widest possible audience.”
The Wallace Collection is particularly strong in Dutch and Flemish paintings of the 17th century and includes Frans Hals’ iconic painting The Laughing Cavalier, as well as multiple paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck. But none of these works have ever been lent to other institutions in 119 years. The collection has always been considered a closed collection because of the terms in the will of Lady Wallace.
Also see Where there’s a will there’s a way: the Wallace Collection lifts loan restrictions in October’s Art Newspaper.