This superbly wrought object is emblematic of its owner, who was one of the leading collectors of arms and armour in 19th-century France.

A talented sculptor and, as Surintendant des Beaux-Arts, a central figure in the cultural world of the Second Empire, Nieuwerkerke was forced to flee France for England when the Empire collapsed, in 1871. In order to finance a new life in exile, he sold his superb collection of arms and armour and other Medieval and Renaissance works of art to Sir Richard Wallace. Today they form the core of this part of the Wallace Collection. The ring forms part of a group of material which will greatly illuminate the public's understanding of Nieuwerkerke and the world of Second Empire France. The collection includes paintings, correspondence, books and photographs. The Nieuwerkerke material will form part of the Hertford House Historic Collection, which documents the history of the Wallace Collection, its founders and associated collectors.


by descent

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