Hufton + Crow
A new gallery opened in 2015 dedicated to the Waddesdon Bequest, a superb collection of medieval and Renaissance pieces donated to the British Museum in 1898 by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild.
The collection was created in the 19th Century with pieces from the the art markets of Frankfurt, Vienna, London and Paris, and is a true treasure trove of precious, intricate objects modeled on the courtly European collections – called Kunstkammern – from the Medieval and Renaissance era. It testifies to the rise of the Rothschild family as new European aristocracy.
The Stanton Williams studio designed the new gallery by looking to Kunstkammern with the objective being to inspire a sense of surprise and wonder in the visitor. The new gallery puts the collection into historic context and emphasizes the ties with its original home, which was the Smoking Room at Waddesdon Manor, the country home of the Rothschild family. The feeling of intimacy and the precious quality of materials used in the gallery are also reminiscent of the Smoking Room.