Blog > Ranger's House and the Wernher Collection in Greenwich

December 28, 2013

If you are in the mood to see some eclectic art this writer recommends a visit to the Ranger's House in Greenwich London.  Within the confines of this elegant Georgian mansion is housed the impressive Wernher Collection.  The museum can be found in Greenwich Park and on display is the works of art acquired by German born diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher who lived from 1850 to 1912. 

You can reach the museum from Safestay Hostel by car which is less than 6 miles by taking A202 or A2. Taking the best option for public transport will require a bus ride that will take about 22 minutes. Walk to Elephant and Castle New Kent Road (Stop J). Take the 53 Bus towards Plumstead. There will be 21 stops. You will disembark at Stop S in Greenwich Park. The museum is a 6 minute walk away from the bus stop. Total travel time is about 34 minutes.

The collection consists of nearly 700 works of art on display throughout 12 rooms. It is a stunning grouping of paintings, porcelain, silver and jewels. The paintings include works done by Hans Memling, Gabriel Metsu, Filippino Lippi, and Francesco Francia. There are a number of portrait paintings by John Hoppner, George Romney, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. There is an sensational mix of decorative art that includes medieval, Byzantine and Renaissance ivories, tapestries, furniture and Sevres porcelain. Must sees are the beautiful Renaissance jewelery, a life size marble sculpture by Bergonzoli of an angel kissing a semi-nude woman entitled “The Love of Angels” and an owl shaped coconut shell.

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The adult admission price into the museum is 6.70 British pounds. There are special rates for children, students, seniors and of course there are family rates. The facility is open seasonally and is closed from October 03, 2013 to March 2014. There are no refreshments available in the museum and no real gift shop but a guide book and postcards can be purchased on site.

The house built in Palladian style backs directly onto Greenwich Park and dates from 1700. The original owner Admiral Hosier would occupy the house until 1727. In 1748 it would pass into the hands of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield who would later become Secretary of State. He would add the splendid bow windowed gallery for entertaining and displaying his art treasures. In 1782 Richard Hulse as the new owner would add another room with a bow window on the north side to balance the gallery and this is how the house appears today.

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The house would then pass to the Crown and in the early 19th century became the residence of Princess Sophia Mathilda of Glouchester. Later it would become the official residence of the Ranger of Greenwich Park. The London City Council acquired the house and restored it in 1897. As of 2002 the Wernher Collection has been on display here under the care of English Heritage.

All pictures are courtesy of The English Heritage website http://www.english-heritage.org.uk