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

Five Arrows

The five arrows remain an enduring symbol of the Rothschild name…

The five arrows remain an enduring symbol of the Rothschild name. The first appearance of a bundle of arrows representing the 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.

Five arrows appear on the English grant of arms for which Nathan successfully petitioned in 1818 on behalf of himself and all his brothers and their descendants. Nathan's design incorporated a lion (rejected by the Austrians) grasping in its paw a bundle of five arrows.

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. Letterheads survive from the mid 19th century which show that some individuals preferred to see the arrows pointing upwards, in spite of the official description of the arrows approved by the Austrian heralds of arms. Although this 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. So, within the Rothschild group of business, 'arrows down' are used for N M Rothschild & Sons, its subsidiaries and companies in which it has the predominant interest; 'arrows up' for Rothschild & Cie Banque, its subsidiaries and companies in which it has the predominant interest.

But why arrows at all?

The clue 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 - five are depicted by Oppenheim - 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.

Rothschild coat of arms

Rothschild coat of arms

Rothschild corporate logos 2010

Rothschild corporate logos 2010