Our new Waddesdon Bequest gallery!

The Waddesdon Bequest is a remarkable, strange and wonderful collection of objects from the Medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe, once owned by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild.

The collection has had a colourful life, living in the Baron’s luxurious red smoking room in Waddesdon Manor, and bequeathed (given in his will) to the British Museum in 1898.


The “New Smoking Room” at Waddesdon Manor. © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Until recently, the Waddesdon Bequest has been tucked away in a small gallery at the Museum, behind rooms of other European objects from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century. You may have seen this gallery during your time on the ITP.


The old Waddesdon Bequest gallery © The British Museum

Last week a brand new space for the bequest was unveiled in Room 2a – and what a spectacular sight it is! Using the latest digital technology, the new gallery includes video projections of the collection’s original home, Waddesdon Manor, as well as up-close videos of some of the objects on display, including intricately carved box-wood prayer beads. The new gallery is filled with light and a sense of space, giving the objects room to breathe and visitors room to admire.

Take a look below for some pictures of the new gallery. Do any of you have any gallery openings or renovations? Let us know in the comments!


The stunning new gallery © The British Museum


The stunning new gallery © The British Museum


Some of the objects on display © The British Museum