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

Horticulture & gardens

The passion for gardens took hold on the Rothschild family, proving a more enduring interest than banking for many. Between 1850 and 1914, Rothschild gardens spanned England, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

An enduring passion

Rothschild gardens mixed formal design with exuberant planting of trees and flowers, in a style characteristic of the late Victorian/Edwardian era. A love of exotic plants necessitated the building of huge heated greenhouses, allowing skilled Rothschild horticulturalists to create new hybrids, many named after the family. 

The creation and maintenance of an exquisite garden was part of the portfolio of interests that enabled the Rothschilds to take their place as country squires. It was expected of them as responsible estate managers, and was another way in which they could display their wealth, fashionable taste and attention to detail; a finely planned garden could be used to entertain both friends and business contacts, and a good kitchen garden ensured a generous table.

Visit our online exhibition Rothschild Gardens to discover more about the Rothschilds and their horticultural creations.

For a detailed account of the history of selected Rothschild gardens and estates, see Rothschild Gardens by Miriam Rothschild, Kate Garton and Lionel de Rothschild (London: Gaia Books, 1996).

Records of Rothschild gardens

The Rothschild Archive has comparatively few records relating to the estates and private houses of the Rothschild family. Large quantities of private and estate records are known to have been destroyed, and many of the Rothschilds requested that personal records be destroyed upon their death. As houses and estates were sold or re-developed, many records of the minutiae of domestic life have been lost including papers relating to the design, creation and management of gardens. Regrettably, many papers concerning the gardens at Ashton Wold, Tring Park, and the Tring Museum of Walter Rothschild were destroyed during the Second World War.

The Rothschild Archive has a few records concerning the gardens at Gunnersbury, including some designs for garden buildings and a gardener's notebook from the 1890s and also holds a number of domestic invoices and receipts for horticultural supplies provided to the Gunnersbury estate. The Archive holds a photograph album compiled by Mr Warren, Head gardener at Aston Clinton at the turn of the century, and has recently acquired papers concerning orchid growing at Exbury. Correspondence of Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) with noted plant-hunters is preserved in his series of bank papers, RAL XI/15.

Papers concerning the administration of, and expenditure on, gardens of French family estates will be found in two important deposits of papers ('The Lafite papers') relating to the family in France, dating from the late 19th century to the 1930s. 

For more information please contact The Rothschild Archive.

 

Entries in the notebook of Thomas Hobbs gardener at Gunnersbury for November 1896

Entries in the notebook of Thomas Hobbs gardener at Gunnersbury for November 1896

Garden of the Villa Ile de France created by Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi (nee de Rothschild)

Garden of the Villa Ile de France created by Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi (nee de Rothschild)