Ferdinand de Rothschild

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Ferdinand James von Rothschild
Photo of young Ferdinand de Rothschild- antimatrix(dot)org.jpg
Ferdinand de Rothschild
Born (1839-12-17)17 December 1839
Died 17 December 1898(1898-12-17) (aged 59)
Nationality British
Occupation MP; Banker
Known for Waddesdon Bequest
Spouse(s) Evelina de Rothschild

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, the style he used in Britain, or Ferdinand James Anselm, Freiherr von Rothschild (17 December 1839 – 17 December 1898) was an English banker, art collector, and politician, who was a member of the prominent Rothschild family of bankers. He was a Liberal MP who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1898.

Life and career

Although Ferdinand von Rothschild was born in Paris, he was from Vienna and a part of the Rothschild banking family of Austria. He was the second son of Baron Anselm von Rothschild (1803–1874) and Charlotte von Rothschild née Rothschild (1807–1859).[1] He held the hereditary title Freiherr (Baron) in the Austrian nobility. He became a British subject and moved from Vienna to London.

On 7 June 1865, he married his second cousin Evelina de Rothschild (1839–1866), the daughter of Lionel de Rothschild (1808–1879). On 4 December 1866 their son was stillborn, and Evelina died later the same day. In her memory, Ferdinand built, equipped and endowed the Evelina Hospital for Sick Children in Southwark, south London.[2] He began terms as Treasurer of the Jewish Board of Guardians in 1868 and 1875, and as Warden of the Central Synagogue in 1870.[3]

In 1874, he bought an estate near the village of Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire and between 1874 and 1889 built Waddesdon Manor, designed by Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur in an eclectic style based on the 16th-century French Chateau de Chambord.[2]

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the House of Commons, caricatured in Vanity Fair, 1889

In 1883, Ferdinand de Rothschild was High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire[1] and in 1885 he was elected as Liberal MP for Aylesbury, a seat he held until his death in 1898.[4] From 1896 he was a Trustee of the British Museum, probably at the instigation of Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks.[5]

Ferdinand von Rothschild died at Waddesdon Manor on his 59th birthday and was buried next to his wife in the elegant Rothschild Mausoleum in the Jewish Cemetery at West Ham.

His collection of Renaissance objets d'art from the house was bequeathed to the British Museum as the "Waddesdon Bequest"; the Holy Thorn Reliquary was a highlight of the collection, though its distinguished provenance was still unknown. He willed the Manor to Alice Charlotte von Rothschild, his unmarried younger sister, who had lived with him there, and thence to their nephew, James Armand de Rothschild, who in turn bequeathed it to the National Trust.


  1. 1.0 1.1 House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1886
  2. 2.0 2.1 Seccombe 1901.
  3. Thornton, Dora (2001), "From Waddesdon to the British Museum: Baron Ferdinand Rothschild and his cabinet collection", p. 57, Journal of the History of Collections, 2001, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp. 191–213, doi: 10.1093/jhc/13.2.191
  4. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "A" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]
  5. Thornton (2015), 18-19, 53-54


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Nathan Mayer Rothschild
George W. E. Russell
Member of Parliament for Aylesbury
(representation reduced to one member 1885)
Succeeded by
Lionel Walter Rothschild