In 1865, Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) who had succeeded his father in the family business decided that the time had come for a new building. A second ‘New Court’ was completed in the style of a grand Italian ‘palazzo’ to the design of Thomas Marsh Nelson. The domestic feel of the old New Court was swept away in favour of a building more imposing and business-like, and this impressive iron and enamel sign was hung over the entrance.
The New Court Shield incorporates a number of symbols associated with the Rothschild family of Frankfurt, most prominently, five arrows. A clue to the choice of arrows is in the work of Moritz Oppenheim, the ‘painter of the Rothschilds’. A sketch in oils depicts the story told by Plutarch of Scilurus who, on his deathbed, asked his sons to break a bundle of darts. When they all failed, he showed them how easily the arrows could be broken individually, cautioning them that their strength as a family lay in their unity.
The first appearance of arrows representing the Rothschild family was in the Austrian patent for arms of 1817 that placed the brothers on the first rung of the nobility. In 1822, the brothers advanced yet further in the ranks of the Austrian nobility, becoming barons of the Empire. Many members of the family began to adopt the motif of the five arrows. It appears in letterheads, on bookplates, on porcelain, in jewellery and in countless other decorative ways. Although it was purely a matter of personal choice, a cross-channel split of opinion began to develop. The French family and bank gradually adopted 'arrows up' for all uses of the symbol, while the English remained faithful to the 'arrows down' version, although this division of usage has not always been strictly adhered to.
The New Court Shield also features the Latin motto adopted by the family in 1822, ‘Concordia, Integritas, Industria' (Harmony, Integrity, Diligence).