Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour - The Wallace Collection
The collection of arms and armour at the Wallace Collection is widely recognised as one of the largest and most important in the UK. Consisting of around 2,500 objects, it represents both European and Oriental arms and armour. The European part of the collection was acquired primarily by Sir Richard Wallace, mainly in 1871, from the collections of Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, founding father of the serious study of arms and armour in Britain, and that of the comte de Nieuwerkerke, Director of the Louvre under the Emperor Napoleon III. It is thereby an important surviving example of the 19th-century passion for collecting arms and armour, with rarity, beauty of design, superlative craftsmanship, and richness of decoration the guiding principles behind its formation. The collection is wide-ranging, with the earliest pieces of armour dating from the 14th century, the earliest sword from 10th century, while the very fine historic firearms collection spans the 16th to the 19th centuries.