E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
One who destroys beautiful objects to make way for what he terms improvements, or to indulge his own caprice. When Genseric with his Vandals captured Rome in A.D. 455, he mutilated the public monuments regardless of their worth or beauty.
The word vandalism was invented by the Abbé Grégoire, à propos of the destruction of works of art by revolutionary fanatics.Nineteenth Century (Aug., 1893, p. 272).