Welcome toThe Rothschild Archive'swebsite

Sources for business history

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 Naples house, C M de Rothschild e figli


By 1820, The sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) had established business operations in London, Paris and Vienna. In March 1821, in support of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, the Austrian army entered the Sicilian Kingdom and occupied Naples. This event created new business opportunities, and Carl von Rothschild (1788-1855) was sent to Naples in 1821, where he established C M de Rothschild e figli [C M de Rothschild & Sons] to operate as a satellite office of the family business in Frankfurt.

From 1841, Carl occupied the Villa Pignatelli at Riviera di Chiaia with a spectacular view of Mount Vesuvius. The villa had been built for an English Minister, Sir Ferdinand Acton, between 1826 and 1830. It was set in full view of the river Chiaia, surrounded by beautiful countryside. It was neo-classical in style, and Carl added two floors to house staff and officials. It was from this base that Carl managed his business and entertained distinguished guests.

Business of the Naples house

C M de Rothschild e figli became the dominant banking house in Naples.  The business followed the pattern of the other firms, in the field of acceptance and exchange, complemented by successful trade in commodities, such as sulphur, tobacco, silver, oil and corn. The Rothschilds' successful management of Neapolitan securities caused other Italian states to seek their services in raising credit, notably the Papal administration in Rome, on whose behalf five loans were issued between 1831 and 1850. Further loans were issued to Tuscany and to Piedmont, of which the fourth in 1859 financed Cavour's victorious Austrian campaign, heralding the formation of a united Italy. The business was also involved in railways in Sicily.

Carl took up residence in Italy with his wife Adelheid and their five children.  For the rest of his life he divided his time between his native Frankfurt and Naples, which always remained a ‘daughter-office’ of the Frankfurt bank. The business establishment was in Santa Maria di Portico, and in 1841, Carl bought a neo-classical villa overlooking the river Chiaia. Here he and Adelheid entertained distinguished guests, including Queen Victoria’s favourite uncle, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg who was to become King of Belgium.

Closure of the Naples house

The last Rothschild House established in Europe was the first one to close. The year 1855 was one of considerable change for the Rothschild family with the death of the heads of both the Naples and German branches. Of Carl's three sons, Mayer Carl (1820-1866) and Wilhelm Carl (1828-1901), succeeded their childless uncle Amschel Mayer von Rothschild (1773-1855) in Frankfurt while Carl's son Adolphe Carl (1823-1900) reluctantly agreed to run the Naples branch. 

The unification of the kingdoms of Italy in 1860 saw the diminution of influence of Naples, and the maintenance of a Rothschild House in the city was no longer viable. The end of the Naples branch began when revolution broke out and Giuseppe Garibaldi captured Naples on September 7, 1860 and set up a provisional government. Because of the family's close political connections with Austria and France, the business was caught in a delicate position. Adolphe, rather than entering into business with the new regime, chose to leave Naples, taking temporary sanctuary in Gaeta with the Bourbon king Francis II of the Two Sicilies but the Rothschild houses in London, Paris, and Vienna were not prepared to financially support the deposed king. Adolphe opted to end his involvement in the Rothschild banking partnership, and was bought out of the partnership by his cousins, and the Naples business terminated.  After forty-two years in business C M de Rothschild & Figli ceased to trade in 1863.

In 1960 the Villa Pignatelli was acquired by the town of Naples. It is now a museum, Il Museo Principe Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes.

 List of the family members who have led the Naples business.

C M de Rothschild e figli 

Baron Carl Mayer von Rothschild (1788-1855)   

Baron Adolphe Carl von Rothschild (1823-1900)   

Adolphe Carl von Rothschild was the first member of the family to be bought out of the partnership and the Naples house closed in 1863.

Carl Mayer Rothschild (1788-1855)

Carl Mayer Rothschild (1788-1855)

The Villa Pignatelli Naples

The Villa Pignatelli Naples