The Wallace Collection holds one of the most important collections of French furniture anywhere in the world.
Totalling more than five hundred pieces, the collection consists largely of eighteenth-century French furniture but also includes some significant pieces of nineteenth-century French furniture, as well as interesting Italian furniture and a few English and German pieces.
The collection ranges from cabinet furniture, much of which is veneered with brass and turtleshell marquetry (commonly known as 'Boulle' marquetry) or with wood marquetry, to seat furniture, clocks and barometers, gilt-bronze items including mounted porcelain and hardstones, mantelpieces, mirrors, boxes and pedestals. One highlight of the collection is the major collection of furniture attributed to André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), perhaps the best-known cabinet-maker ever to have lived. The earliest piece by Boulle is a cabinet on a stand decorated with florid wood marquetry inspired by contemporary Dutch still life paintings. The largest Boulle armoire is veneered with contre-partie marquetry and is surmounted by a clock decorated with gilt-bronze mounts of putti representing Love, Night and Day.
The Rococo is vividly represented by the great commode delivered by Antoine-Robert Gaudreaus for Louis XV's bedchamber at Versailles in April 1739, mounted with swirling, organic gilt-bronzes by Jacques Caffiéri, and the chandelier, also by Caffiéri, given by Louis XV to his eldest daughter in c.1752. In the intimate interiors of the galleries upstairs are sumptuous pieces once owned by Queen Marie-Antoinette, including a desk decorated with exquisite floral mounts, formerly in her rooms at the Petit Trianon, and a perfume burner from her private apartments at Versailles.