Vir*tu" [It. virtu virtue, excellence, from L. virtus. See Virtue.]
A love of the fine arts; a taste for curiosities.
An article, ∨ piece, of virtu, an object of art or antiquity; a curiosity, such as those found in museums or private collections.
I had thoughts, in my chambers to place it in view,
To be shown to my friends as a piece of virtu.
© Webster 1913.