This handrail at the Museo Thyssen in Madrid Spain wouldn't pass building codes here in the US. Here, the end of a handrail needs to curve back towards the wall to prevent the projecting end from catching onto someone. Never-the-less, I like this detail of capping the wood end with metal highlighting the sensual curve of the wood.
In my blog series of In the Realm of the Senses I picked a handrail bracket for my Pine Street remodel last August. Take a look at the selected bracket here. Well about three months later, they are being installed. What you don't see in this photo is the painstaking work that had to be done behind the sheetrock.
Like many 100+ year old buildings, the walls were uneven with various layers of plaster and sheetrock. Because of the precise alignment needed for the brackets, the wall was opened and solid wood (blocking) was installed between the wall joists to form a solid straight surface and the finish wall was evened out. Our contracto Kenji and I talked about the merits of installing the bracket connection perpendicular to the wood handrail or vertical. Installing the brackets vertical means the wood handrail needs to be drilled at an angle -- a more difficult procedure. We picked vertical. This link shows a cool video of how the bracket is installed.