With probably the best collection of French furniture, paintings, and Sevres porcelain outside of the Louvre, the Wallace Collection in London is a treasure to see. Most of the lectures for my master’s degree program through the University of Buckingham were held here.
Located on Manchester Square in the former family home of the Marquesses of Hertford, it’s probably also the only house where a Titian used to hang in the owner’s bathroom. It’s the intimate setting that enhances the experience of seeing history, and works of art by masters in their craft.
Lessons learned from serving in apprenticeships are lovingly detailed in the Boulle work of a wardrobe, the intricate marquetry and mechanical genius of a secretaire by Riesener, and painted scenes of courtly life on a porcelain inkstand.
What one does not see in this museum are the hundreds of mistakes that were made by each of these artists before they reached their heights of perfection. Each artist kept growing through personal trials and errors as they continually attempted to reach their goals. Guided by a master, these artists only became a master in their own right when they had received approval from their own master and guild.
The mistakes helped create the masterpieces we now see in this collection. Which is really what happens with each of us, isn’t it? Each soul having a human experience, creating our own masterpieces with our lives. We are all works of art in the making.
Which reminds me of a quote from the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley (1849-1903).
“I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.”
May you live your life as the master of your fate, and create all the happiness you deserve.