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

Jewellery and Objets d'Art

The Waddesdon Bequest: the collection of Ferdinand de Rothschild

The jewels which Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898) collected 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 jewels all through his life, a number of them inherited 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 »

Jewellery designs

Adelheid von Rothschild (1853-1935) was one of the daughters of Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild (1828-1901) and Hannah Mathilde von Rothschild (1832-1924). Born into the Frankfurt branch of the family, she married her French cousin Edmond James de Rothschild (1845-1934) in 1877. Throughout her life, she was a keen collector of lace, costumes and accessories. In Paris, she lived at 41 rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré, a short distance from the jeweller, Maurice Tripier at No.28. The Archive holds  small collection of jewellery designs for pieces Baroness Adelheid commisioned from Tripier, (RAL 000/2417).

Collections of the Viennese Rothschilds

In 2015, the descendants of the Viennese Rothschild family gifted to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA, an important collection of objects looted from the family during the Nazi era and ultimately restored to their rightful owners. The collection of 186 items, originally owned by Baron Alphonse Mayer (1878-1942) and Baroness Clarice (1894-1967) von Rothschild of Vienna, includes European decorative arts, furniture, prints, drawings, paintings, and personal objects including jewellery and jewelled objects, miniatures, and rare books, and was a gift of the heirs of Bettina Looram (née von Rothschild).

The collection features nearly 80 objects that were personally meaningful to the Rothschild family including items of Baroness Clarice von Rothschild's jewellery. Exquisite artistry and craftsmanship can be seen in objects such as a diamond necklace/tiara of the 1920s with nine stunning, pear-shaped diamonds, and an Art Deco brooch (Austrian, about 1937) incorporating two emerald beads. Read more about this collection on Museum of Fine Arts Boston website »

The Rothschild Fabergé Egg

The Rothschild egg is a jewelled, enamelled, decorated egg that was made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé by the workshop of Michael Perchin in 1902. Béatrice, Baroness Ephrussi (nee de Rothschild) (1864-1934) presented this egg to Germaine Halphen (1884-1975) upon her engagement to Béatrice's younger brother, Édouard Alphonse James de Rothschild (1868-1949).

Upon the hour, a diamond-set cockerel pops up from the top of the egg, flaps its wings four times, then nods his head three times, crowing all the while. This lasts for fifteen seconds, before the clock strikes the hour on a bell. It is one of the few significant Fabergé eggs that were not made for the Russian Imperial family, and it had been in the Rothschild family since it was first purchased. It was one of the most expensive eggs that Fabergé had ever made and sold.

It was sold by Christie's auction house on 28 November 2007, for £8.9 million (including commission). The price achieved by the egg set three auction records: it is the most expensive timepiece, Russian object, and Fabergé object ever sold at auction, surpassing the $9.6 million sale of the 1913 Winter egg in 2002. The egg was bought by Alexander Ivanov, the director of the Russian National Museum.  As of January 2019, the Rothschild egg is on display in Room 302 of the Hermitage's General Staff Building.

For information about Fabergé and the Rothschild family see Fabergé and the Rothschilds by Kieran McCarthy in The Rothschild Archiveeview of the Year 2004-2005.

Part of the Waddesdon Bequest

Part of the Waddesdon Bequest