Thursday 15 August 2019
Rebecca Wallis, National Trust Curator and DAS Trustee
Over the last decade Rebecca Wallis has attended, co-organised and hosted events for the DAS and has benefitted hugely from the passion and wide-ranging expertise of fellow members. According to Wallis: “Curatorship is a collective endeavour enhanced by sharing and learning with others – individual curators cannot know it all!” She has been a DAS member since 2010, and committee member since 2011, while Assistant Curator at the Wallace Collection (contributing an article on Sir Richard Wallace’s Minton tiled Smoking Room to Journal 35).
The bringing together of the trial vase in the Victoria and Albert Museum with the final presentation vase made by William Burton’s Pilkington’s Factory in 1910 for Charles Hercules Read (acquired by the British Museum in 2016) is one memorable highlight for Wallis. This was achieved with fellow trustees Judy Rudoe and Martin Levy while she was Curator of Western 19th-Century Ceramics and Glass, and Wedgwood Collection Liaison at the V&A. The DAS gave generously to that acquisition and has been of important financial support to ever dwindling UK museum coffers. In another example, the DAS funded the acquisition of a Linthorpe Pottery, double gourd vase, designed by Christopher Dresser that directly related to a Japanese bronze already in the V&A collection.
In 2017 Wallis joined the National Trust as Curator for a number of properties in Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire. All have post-1850 history relevant to the DAS but particularly Hinton Ampner, an important building in shaping 20th-century interpretation of the significance of the country house. Its last private owner Ralph Dutton, 8th Lord Sherborne (1898-1985), commissioned his architect friends Lord Gerald Wellesley and Trenwith Wills to design the house with interiors by Mann & Fleming, in the Regency villa style.
This autumn the spotlight is being turned on Dutton’s hardstones collection, alongside an important loan from the Gilbert Collection. The exhibition `Objects in Focus: Hardstones’ is from 1 September to 17 November 2019 at Hinton Ampner, nr Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 0LA. For more details, visit the website https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner