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

Le Goût Rothschild

Le Goût Rothschild, (the Rothschild taste), describes a detailed, elaborate style of interior decoration and living which had its origin in France, Britain, and Germany during the nineteenth century, when the Rothschild family was at its height. The Rothschild aesthetic and life-style later influenced other rich and powerful families, including the Vanderbilts, Astors, and Rockefellers, and became hallmarks of the American Gilded Age. Aspects of le goût Rothschild continued into the twentieth century, affecting such designers as Yves Saint Laurent and Robert Denning.

Characteristics: interiors

The decorative interior elements of the Goût Rothschild include lavish use of extravagant heavy textile fabrics (like damask, brocade, and velvet) and much gilding, elaborate stucco ceilings, and precious (and often antique) wooden panelling and parquet flooring. This heavy abundance is combined with eighteenth-century, mostly French, furniture. For the Rothschilds, furniture and works of art often were of royal provenance. The family bought only the best which was on the market at that time, with preference for the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI. And after the French Revolution in 1789, there were some excellent pieces to buy, including many from the Château de Versailles.

Architecture characteristics

In architecture, the Rothschilds preferred styles of the Renaissance. The fusion of these uses of materials and styles - 'the Rothschild style', combines a sense of Victorian 'horror vacui' beside masterworks of art, sculpture, and armour. With the construction of Waddesdon Manor, the newly established English branch of the Rothschild family revived imitation of French Renaissance styles in the United Kingdom. The expansive manor house was built in the tradition of the châteaux in the Loire Valley. The Rothschilds often bought original architectural elements from neglected castles and palaces and re-used these floors, fireplaces, ceilings, doors, and panellings in their own newly built castles and palaces, as, for example, in Mentmore Towers, Waddesdon Manor, the Château de Ferrières, and the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé were much impressed by the interiors of the Château de Ferrières. They held the decoration of the "Blue Saloon" as a model for the decoration of their own home.

The legacy of the style

Le Goût Rothschild was, until the end of the 1920s and in a less opulent way until the 1960s, the preferred style of people who amassed their fortunes in the late 19th century. Families like the Vanderbilts, the Astors, the Rockefellers, the Du Ponts and others furnished their residences in New York and Newport, Rhode Island in the "Goût Rothschild". During this period they bought whole interiors of French chateaux or English castles and country houses and shipped these elements of European aristocratic taste to the USA where they were installed in houses like The Breakers, Rosecliff, Marble House and others. The Rothschilds style was especially popular in France, Great-Britain and the United States. The Paris-based interior decoration company Maison Jansen was one of the leading companies whose designs came close to Le Goût Rothschild, though in a less opulent way. Among their clients were the administration of John F. Kennedy who engaged them to redesign the White House and the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor whose mansion in Paris they decorated.

Interior of The Library at Waddesdon Manor

Interior of The Library at Waddesdon Manor

Château de Pregny

Château de Pregny