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

Exhibition - Rothschild Gardens

6: English gardens: Vale of Aylesbury

Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire

When the Aston Clinton estate came up for sale in July 1849 the Rothschild brothers discussed a possible investment purchase, agreeing to pay no more than £26,000, as ‘it is not like a fancy place’. Sir Anthony de Rothschild (1810-1876) finally secured the property in 1851. The house and park were the setting for many entertainments, both formal and intimate. Anthony was a keen countryman and he became owner of a number of successful racehorses including Carnelion and Coomassie, and Aston Clinton hosted shooting parties at which the Prince of Wales was a frequent guest. Anthony and Louise were noted for their enlightened views of the responsibilities towards their employees and their tenants and they transformed the estate and village. The Rothschild family disposed of the estate in sales in 1923 and 1924.

See Aston Clinton House, Buckinghamshire in The Rothschild Archive Annual Review 2002-2003 and Mr Warren's photograph album: memories of a vanished Rothschild estate in The Rothschild Archive Annual Review 2012-2013 for more information about Aston Clinton.

Halton, Buckinghamshire

The Halton estate was purchased by Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) in 1853 but it was not until the estate was inherited by his second son, Alfred (1842-1918), that Halton was actually used as a country residence by the family.  Alfred immediately set about building a new mansion, employing the architect William R. Rogers who designed Halton Mansion in the style of a French château. A magnificent gala opening took place on 19th January 1884, attended by the Prince of Wales. Guests were enthralled by the use of coloured lights on the mansion, gardens and fountains and Halton soon became renowned for its lavish entertaining.

The house was surrounded by conventional parterres and formal flower beds, carefully manicured lawns, winding paths and a surfeit of statues, urns, steps and balustrades. Over 60 full-time gardeners were employed to tend the hothouses and maintain the extensive grounds.

Alfred’s demands upon his staff could often be eccentric. On one occasion he is reputed to have asked to see rambler roses adorning the columns of his Winter Garden. Although it was entirely the wrong season for such an enterprise, the gardeners dutifully imported a large stock of the required roses from the Chelsea horticulturalist, Veitch; these they managed to train half-way up the columns and the remaining area was discreetly covered with artificial flowers and leaves which, at a distance, blended with the natural plants to look most convincing. Alfred was apparently delighted with the effect.

Ascott, Buckinghamshire

In 1873 Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) bought a farm at Ascott in Buckinghamshire for his son, Leopold (1845-1917), who decided to turn it into a fashionable country house to entertain his guests. The 90 acres of grounds at Ascott were remodelled by Leopold in 1874. The gardens were laid out in discussion with the architect George Devey and the horticulturist Sir Harry Veitch.

The Ascott plan closely followed Francis Bacon’s design for an ‘ideal garden’ published in his Essay Of Gardens in 1625. Bacon’s dimensions and instructions were followed: formal parterres and topiary are contrasted with the natural scenery of the wilderness and the distant views of the Vale of Aylesbury. Bacon recommended fountains in his garden ‘for fountains are a great beauty and refreshment’. Leopold installed several fountains at Ascott, two of which were designed by a fashionable American sculptor, William Wetmore Storey. 

Ascott boasts some remarkable topiary, including a sun-dial made of yew and box. The Roman numerals marking the hours are grown in box and the time of day is marked by the shadow of the tall central yew gnomon. Around the perimeter is a box-trimmed motto: ‘Light and shade by turn but love always’.In 1950 ownership of the house was transferred to The National Trust »

[Mr Leopold de Rothschild] ".....regularly to be seen at all the shows of the Royal Horticultural Society, took great pride and interest in his gardens at Ascott and Gunnersbury.  He was famous as a grower of orchids, but this year as a war measure he ordered flowers to be replaced by fruit and vegetables. His kitchen gardens this year are probably the most prolific in the kingdom as far as private residences are concerned." Manchester Dispatch, 30 May 1917

Produce from Aston Clinton on display at the Aylesbury Cottager's Show 1899

Produce from Aston Clinton on display at the Aylesbury Cottager's Show 1899