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

Schatzkammer & kunstkammern objects

In collecting Schatzkammer (literally 'Treasure Room') and Kunstkammern ('Art Cabinets') objects the Rothschilds were influenced by the wealthy Renaissance princes who kept cabinets of treasures or curiosities. The family's collections in this field were remarkable in England where few people had shown more than a passing interest.

The collections of Baron Lionel de Rothschild

The collection of Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) was probably the largest ever made. Ivories, mother-of-pearl, rock crystals, mounted tusks, horns, shells and nuts, Renaissance jewels, snuffboxes, Venetian and Flemish glass, majolica, Palissy and Henri II ware made up the collection.

One outstanding piece of craftsmanship was a mother-of-pearl model of a partridge, made by Georg Ryhl in about 1620 in Nuremburg. Its feet and beak were of silver gilt, while each feather was carved from a piece of mother-of-pearl. Among the items of metalwork were three finely modelled silver-gilt statuettes of Diana riding a stag ornamented with precious stones. They were probably part of a group of twenty similar models made in Augsburg for the coronation banquet of the Emperor Matthias in 1612.

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 »

Ivory tankard with relief of Bacchic figures and revellers playing musical instruments.  c.1730. From the Partners’ Room in old New Court.

Ivory tankard with relief of Bacchic figures and revellers playing musical instruments. c.1730. From the Partners’ Room in old New Court.