(b Darmstadt, April 9, 1850; d London, May 21, 1912).
British industrialist, collector and philanthropist of German birth. He was educated in Frankfurt and in 1871 he went to South Africa, where he worked in the diamond mining industry. With Alfred Beit, elder brother of Sir Otto Beit, he founded what became the Central Mining and Investment Corporation, and he became a British citizen in 1898. Wernher was a generous benefactor of hospitals and educational institutions. He was created baronet in 1905.
In addition to his London home, Bath House (destr. c. 1960) in Piccadilly, Wernher acquired in 1903 Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire, rebuilt in the 1760s by Robert Adam for John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute. He commissioned alterations to both houses in the then fashionable French 18th-century style of interior decoration, creating an ornate background for the display of his collection of European art. Of his acquisitions, the pictures alone numbered 250; they included Joshua Reynolds’s portrait of ...