Welcome toThe Rothschild Archive'swebsite

Sources for business history: plans of New Court

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

Gold & silver art objects

The collections of Mayer Carl von Rothschild

Born in Frankfurt on 5 August 1820, Mayer Carl von Rothschild (1820-1886) was the son of Carl Mayer Rothschild (1788-1855), founder of the Naples house.

Mayer Carl married his cousin Louise at the London synagogue in Duke's Place on 6 April 1842. In Frankfurt, the couple lived at first on the Zeil, before acquiring a house on the Untermainkai and the Günthersburg mansion outside the city. Mayer Carl and Louise amassed an incomparable collection of over 5,000 works of art; by the time he died his art collection was so vast it took up a whole house in Frankfurt.

A large part of this collection consisted of gold and silver plate made in Augsburg and Nuremberg in the 16th century of which there were more than 400 items. During Mayer Carl's lifetime the collection was on display to the general public every Sunday. Drinking vessels, jugs, cups representing women, birds and cherubim, as well as ewers and chalices made up the collection. It also included some fine examples of work based on 16th-century engravings. Many involved not only gold and silver, but also other precious materials, such as jade, tortoiseshell, ivory and agate. The collection was described in two catalogues, published in 1883 and 1885. Today these volumes, with their exquisite photographic plates, are an important source for scholars of gold and silver work, and provenance researchers. Copies of these catalogues are in the Archive collection (RAL 000/2266):

Masterpieces of goldwork from the 14th-18th centuries. The collections of Baron Mayer Carl von Rothschild. Edited by F. Luthmer, architect and director of Kunstgewerkerschule, (Frankfurt am Main: Heinrich Keller) Series One, 1883 and Series Two, 1885. At his death in 1886, Mayer Carl left the collection to his daughters, and much of it descended to Philippe through his grandmother, Laura Thérese. It formed the starting point for the creation of the Museum at Mouton. Other members of the family who collected gold and silver objects were Leopold, Ferdinand, Alice and Adele, Baroness Salomon. See Mayer Carl von Rothschild: collector or patriot? in The Rothschild Archive Annual Review 2003-2004 for more information about Mayer Carl and his collections.

The collections of Ferdinand de Rothschild

Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898) lavish collections were part of his ambition to create a room full of precious objets d'art in the tradition of the Renaissance courts of Europe. Ferdinand collected throughout his life, inheriting many pieces from his father, Anselm.

The collection was remarkable for the way it reflected the achievements of goldsmiths of the early Renaissance and Baroque period who worked in ways described by Benvenuto Cellini. They used gemstones of many colours but also enamelling, using several techniques, to create polychrome jewels. Above all there are many examples of heavy sculptural pendants which were a distinctive feature of the second half of the 16th century, especially in Germany. The collection also includes three lockets, especially the Lyte Jewel designed to contain a miniature of King James I painted by the court-limner, Nicholas Hilliard. 

The collection was bequeathed to the British Museum, where it is known as The Waddesdon Bequest. Read more on The British Museum website here »

Part of the collection of Mayer Carl von Rothschild

Part of the collection of Mayer Carl von Rothschild