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

Food & drink

When, in November 1821, Metternich, the Imperial Austrian Chancellor, received an invitation from Amschel Rothschild (1773-1855) "to take soup with him" at his house in Frankfurt, he little expected the magnificent banquet which awaited him. It was a clear token of the Rothschilds' ascent in the financial and social worlds.

Food was, in fact, to become both a love and an important weapon in the Rothschild business armoury. In 1826, James de Rothschild (1792-1868), similarly demonstrating his newly won position in Paris society, took on the great chef Antonin Careme, formerly employed by the Prince Regent, by Talleyrand and the Tsar of Russia. Lady Morgan, an Irish novelist, visited James in 1829 and was overwhelmed by the elegant modern simplicity of the meal - "no high-spiced sauces, no dark-brown gravies, no flavour of cayenne and allspice" but "distillations of the most delicate viands, extracted in silver dews, with chemical precision". Careme named a soup, 'Potage Lady Morgan', in her honour and several of his recipes bear the name Rothschild.

Magnificence and scale needed the best chefs and the best technology. Rothschild kitchens were among the finest and best equipped to be found. At Ferriéres, the kitchens were detached from the main building to reduce the risk of fire - but were connected by an underground tunnel along which ran a small railway to carry the dishes on heated trays from kitchen to table.

Careme was the first of a line of distinguished chefs to be associated with the family. In recent years, Jean-Christophe Novelli, having become chef to Elie de Rothschild at the age of 20, went on to win a Michelin star at Gordleton Mill in Hampshire and moved in 1993 to the Four Seasons restaurant in Park Lane, London. Michel Roux, chef to Cécile de Rothschild from 1962 to 1967, went on to open Le Gavroche and, in 1972, the Waterside Inn at Bray in Berkshire. He has since received countless gastronomic honours. 

Many recipes were created for members of the Rothschild family. This is a version of the famous recipe for Soufflé Rothschild (from Lord Rothschild's favourite recipes, compiled by Sarah Daniel, Stourton Press, London, 1989)

2 tablespoons chopped glace fruit
2 tablespoons brandy
15g (½ oz) butter
2 good tablespoons (2 oz) castor (powdered) sugar
45g (11/2 oz) butter
3 tablespoons (11/2oz) flour
11/4 cups (9 fl oz) milk
1/2 punnet ripe strawberries
3 tablespoons (3 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla essence or 1/2 vanilla pod, crushed
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites

Soak the chopped glace fruit in the brandy overnight.

Butter the inside of a 15 cm (6 inch) souffle dish generously with 15g butter and lightly dust with 1 tablespoon castor sugar. Cut a band of greaseproof paper about 18 cm (7 inches) wide and long enough to go round the outside of the dish with a 5cm (2 inch) overlap.

Fold paper in half lengthways, butter the top half of one side and tie round the souffle dish with string. Melt 45g butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook over a gentle heat for 1/2 minute. Add the milk and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and boils. Simmer for 5 seconds.

Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons sugar and vanilla essence or vanilla pod and the glace cherries. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Whisk the egg whites very stiffly until firm peaks are formed. Fold a large tablespoon of egg white into the egg mixture to soften it, then fold in the remaining whites lightly.

Cook in the centre of a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Add the strawberries to the top of the souffle, cutting them in half if they are very large, then sprinkle with the remaining castor sugar. Continue cooking for a further 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Menu card for a dinner to celebrate Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild being made a peer in 1885.

Menu card for a dinner to celebrate Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild being made a peer in 1885.

The Dining Room at Waddesdon Manor.

The Dining Room at Waddesdon Manor.