The collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings amassed by Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) was one of the most important owned by any family member. He acquired many of these through his purchases of whole collections, the most significant being the Van Loon collection which he bought in 1878, the year before his death, and which consisted of 80 Dutch and Flemish paintings of the 17th century.
He also acquired landscapes, genre scenes and still-lifes by Albert Cuyp, Nicolaes Berchem, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu and others. With his collection of English portraits of the 18th century, however, Lionel was in the vanguard of contemporary taste, for it was not until later in the century that they became fashionable. Among these were works by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Romney and Sir William Beechey.