Welcome toThe Rothschild Archive'swebsite

Sources for business history: catalogues of bank files

Sources for art history: Catalogue of the pictures of Alfred de Rothschild 1901

Sources for yachting history: Plans for Nathaniel von Rothschild's yacht Veglia 1905

Sources for natural history: Walter 2nd Lord Rothschild and his zebra carriage: c.1910

Sources for global financial history: Map of lines of the Brazil Railway Company: c.1920

Sources for business history: index cards to bank files

Sources for social history: Rothschild Hospital Paris: 1920s

Sources for business history: detail of a Rothschild bond coupon

Sources for architectural history: Halton House: 1890s

Sources for the history of travel: Lionel de Rothschild's tours of Spain: 1909

Sources for local history: Tring Park: c.1900

Sources for Royal history: shooting party with Edward Prince of Wales: 1893

Sources for political history: Lionel de Rothschild: first Jewish MP: 1858

Sources for sporting history: St Amant winner of the Derby: 1904

Sources for local history: gardeners at Aston Clinton: 1899

Sources for Rothschild family history: Lionel de Rothschild's yacht Rhodora: 1927

Sources for London history: entrance to New Court: 1965

Sources for design history: plans for Lionel de Rothschild's Rolls-Royce: 1930

Sources for business history: Rothschild gold bars produced by the Royal Mint Refinery: 1930s

Sources for business history: letters of August Belmont Rothschild Agent in New York: 1860s

The Paris banking house: 19, rue Laffitte

The building James de Rothschild occupied in the rue Laffitte served both as his town house and the address of the banking business he founded in Paris in 1812.

de Rothschild Fréres: rue Laffitte

James de Rothschild (1792-1868) arrived in Paris in 1812. With the purchase of an hôtel in 1818 in the old rue d’Artois, now rue Laffitte, the richest, most animated and modern part of Paris, James' lifestyle began to reflect the high social position he had attained as founder of the French Rothschild bank. His reconstructions of the building in 1836 attracted the approval of his family.

James’s nephew, Lionel, wrote to his fiancée, Charlotte: The first floor, the daily habitation is… splendid, so much gold that for the first few days one is quite dazzled.

With its seven gilded salons and luxurious interiors the house aroused general admiration. The poet Heine described it as the Versailles of a financial potentate. It was the perfect setting for the many soirées James held there each week. As many as sixty guests regularly sat down to dinner, among whom were numerous figures from the artistic community, such as Balzac and Heine, Liszt, Puccini and Meyerbeer, while Rossini wrote music for his parties and Ingres painted a portrait of James’s wife, Betty, there.

The twentieth century

During the Second World War, James’s grandsons and business heirs, Edouard and Robert, were forced to leave Paris. Their business was largely left in the hands of their Amsterdam agent, Auerbach, whose firm was incorporated into N V Commissie en Handelsbank.

Following French government reform of banking regulations, de Rothschild Frères became Banque Rothschild, a limited-liability company in 1967. Banque Rothschild was created on January 1st 1968, functioning as a deposit bank. In 1969 Guy de Rothschild became the chairman. At Easter 1970, a new modern bank building was inaugurated at 21 rue Laffitte, Paris. Baronne Liliane de Rothschild, (whose husband Guy de Rothschild was one of the French partners) had a good eye for pictures and a flair for design, and, in collaboration with Michel Boyer, she supervised the interior decoration of the new offices.

In 1982, the bank founded by James de Rothschild as de Rothschild Frères was nationalised by the French government, becoming became Compagnie Européenne de Banque. 

A safe from the original French bank in the rue Laffitte is on display at New Court.

de Rothschild Fréres: rue Laffitte

de Rothschild Fréres: rue Laffitte

The new building in 1970

The new building in 1970