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 »
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 »