Detail from one of the Emperor of China tapestries in the Wernher Collection

Highlights of the Wernher Collection

The collection of fine and decorative art on display at Ranger’s House was put together in the late 19th century by Sir Julius Wernher, a businessman who made his fortune from dealing in South African gold and diamonds. It represents one of the most extraordinary collections of medieval and early modern European art to have been made by one person.

Explore some highlights of the collection below.

More than 700 works of art from Wernher’s varied collection are displayed at Ranger’s House today. They range from exquisite ivory carvings, Limoges enamels and Renaissance jewellery to Italian bronzes, colourful pottery and 18th-century porcelain. Not only are many of these pieces unique examples of their kind, but the stories they tell – of how they were made, where they travelled to, and the way they were used – reveal much about how the material culture of Europe was continually changed and shaped over hundreds of years.

All objects are reproduced courtesy of the Trustees of the Wernher Foundation.

Find out more

  • Explore in 3D

    View some of the works of art that Wernher collected in 3D, including two extraordinary objects that were designed as memento mori – reminders of death.

  • About the Wernher Collection

    Find out more about the Wernher Collection, the 19th-century businessman behind it, and how this unique collection came to be displayed at Ranger’s House.

  • History of Ranger’s House

    Built in the 1720s for a naval captain, Ranger’s House was later home to politicians, military officers and royals, including the Rangers of Greenwich Park, for 180 years. Discover its 300-year history.

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