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Artworks: cartoons & caricatures, 'Rothschilds'

The Rothschild Archive holds a small collection of cartoons and caricatures featuring the Rothschilds. The Archive has not set out to create a complete collection per se but the collection has been assembled enable the Archive to better understand the context in which the Rothschild family were living and working.

Since early in the 19th century, the Rothschilds have been almost constantly in the public eye, across Europe and beyond, but the public profile of the family has swung wildly with changing times and in different countries. Caricature provides an effective barometer of those varying moods and attitudes.

Caricature highlights moments when the family has been the butt of virulent anti-semitism or has been identified with unpopular causes or movements and attacked as a readily accessible symbol. Equally, it can reflect moods of gentle - even affectionate - pinpointing of eccentricity or idiosyncracy, and it reflects and comments on significant moments in history in which the Rothschilds have been involved. 

For a collection of lithographs originally published in Vanity Fair, see The Vanity Fair lithographs collection. For the infamous Musée des Horreurs lithographs, see the Musée des Horreurs collection.

An analysis of The Rothschilds in caricature, with a detailed list of caricatures, can be found in the article 'The Rothschilds in Caricature' by Alfred Rubens in Transactions & Miscellanies (Jewish Historical Society of England), Vol. 22 (1968-1969), Jewish Historical Society of England. A copy of this article is available upon request in the Reading Room.

A gallery of cartoons and caricatures in featured on the Archive website here: Exhibition: Rothschilds  in Caricature » (Note: the Archive does not hold originals of all the cartoons and caricatures featured in this gallery).

Cartoons & caricatures: silhouette of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), c.1820

000/1464, 1 item

Framed portrait silhouette of N M Rothschild (1777-1836), head and shoulders, c.1820. Black ink cut out heightened with gold.

Cartoons & caricatures: silhouette of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), c.1820

000/1507, 1 item

Silhouette of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (177-1836), full length, standing, facing left, with top hat and cane. Painted on glass in oval gilt metal frame. Provenance unknown; a label on the reverse reads ‘Collection of Lord Revelstoke’; the title was created in 1885 for the businessman Edward Baring (1828-1897), head of the family firm of Barings Bank. This item may have been acquired by NMR at auction, or been a gift to the Rothschild Partners from the Barings.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Stock Jobbing Extraordinary!!! Brookman v. Rothschild', 1820

000/693, 1 item

Stock Jobbing Extraordinary!!! Brookman v. Rothschild, (London, H. Stokes, c.1820). This work includes a caricature of Nathan Mayer Rothschild by Cruickshank , and is a commentary on the proceedings n the Vice-Chancellor's Court in the case of Brookman v. Rothschild, in which James Brookman charged the Rothschilds with witholding money and stock due him from a series of transctions; judgement was made against the Rothschilds. A trtanscript of the hearing in the House of Lords, related to the case will be found in 000/1944. A single file concerning the case will be found in the Correspondence Department, Subject Correspondence, Affaires, XI/4 series, (RAL XI/4/0).

Cartoons & caricatures: 'The Royal Exchange - Tom pointing out to Jerry a few of the primest features of life in London', 1821

000/707, 1 item

Mounted hand-coloured etching and aquatint The Royal Exchange - Tom pointing out to Jerry a few of the primest features of life in London engraved by Cruickshank, featuring a caricature of Nathan Rothschild (1777-1836). This caricature was originally an illustration to Pierce Egan's Life in London, page 283. The Exchange is filled with a dense top-hatted crowd, from which rises, right the statue of Charles II. In the foreground Tom bargains with a bearded Jew, the only obvious Jew depicted. Jerry stands by. Nathan Mayer Rothschild stands in profile to the 1eft. One or two other figures appear to be copies of Dighton's portraits; all are on a small scale. Bound in the 1821 edition of Pierce Egan's Life in London, printed for Sherwood, Neely and Jones. April 1821.

Cartoons & caricatures: sundry Dighton prints, 1822; 1824; 1836

000/247/1-3, 3 items

Three prints of works by Richard Dighton:

  • The Market Mends by Richard Dighton, 1822 (000/247/1)
  • The Morning Chronicle (James Perry or Mr. Mackenzie) by Richard Dighton, 1824 (000/247/2)
  • Write'em or let'em alone (Robert Pulsford) by Richard Dighton, 1824 (000/247/3)

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Mr Gurney...', 1824

000/2150, 1 item

Mr Gurney ('Is Friend Rothschild on 'Change') by and published by Richard Dighton, later published by Thomas McLean. Framed coloured etching, 1824 (17 March 1823). The cartoon depicts Samuel Gurney (1786–1856), Quaker, businessman and philanthropist. Nathan Mayer Rothschild founded in 1824 the Sun Alliance Assurance with Sir Alex Baring, Samuel Gurney, and Sir Moses Montefiore, with an initial capital of five million pounds.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'A Pillar of the Exchange', c.1825

000/2643, 1 item

Original caricature of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), 'A Pillar of the Exchange’, with his short, stout figure and his protruding lower lip, standing by his favourite column in the Royal Exchange. published by W.Clarke, 21 Finch Lane Cornhill. Hand coloured lithograph.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Beauties of Brighton', 1825; 1826

000/833, 4 items

'Beauties of Brighton', watercolour cartoon by Alfred Henry Forrester (1804-1872), Alias, Alfred Crowquill, 1825 and 'Beauties of Brighton', cartoon after Crowquill, etched by Cruickshank, 1826: modern photographic copies, including a copy of the Cruickshank cartoon in a modern wooden frame.

On the extreme left three dandified and handsome men walk (left to right) arm in arm, wearing tight pantaloons and pumps. They are: Alfred Forrester (a self portrait) and his brother Charles Alfred Forrester (1803-1850), author, and another brother. More conspicuous is Frederick Augustus, Duke of York (1763-1827), son of king George III, standing in profile to the left in conversation with the Duke of Gloucester. A small spectacled man, holding his top-hat and a paper inscribed, 'Loo Comb ... at libra', is Mr. Lucombe of the Brighton library. John Liston (1776-1846), the comedian, walks to the right, looking over his right shoulder. Nathan Mayer Rothschild, the financier, as in Dighton's etching, but more obese, walking in profile to the right with his fat and floridly dressed wife, Hannah (1783-1850); A plump parson in back view bows to Lieut-Colonel Sir Augustus Frederick d'Este (1794-1848), a whiskered and exotic-looking officer wearing a grotesque chapska and having a lady on each arm, Miss Ellen Augusta d'Este and the fat and smiling Mrs Coutts (d.1837) née Harriet Mellon, an actress who married in 1815 Thomas Coutts (d.1822), the banker. In the foreground on the extreme right is Prince Charles Maurice de Talleyrand (1754-1838), French statesman,  walking to the left, an oddity in top-boots and breeches.

The original Crowquill watercolour is held by The Jewish Museum London; original copies of the Cruickshank cartoon are held by The British Museum and The Victoria & Albert Museum. The Rothschild Archive London does not hold any original copies.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'An Untoward Event or A Tory Triumph', [1827]

000/827, 1 item

Modern photographic print of an original hand coloured etching entitled An Untoward Event or A Tory Triumph, February 1828. Artist's pseudonym 'Shortshanks', text within image and publication line: "London. Published by Thos Mc.Lean, 26, Haymarket." This cartoon is one of the many attacks upon Wellington's administration as a militarist, and features a caricature of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836).

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Die Krähwinkler suchen die papiere in die höhe zu treiben', 1830

000/1270, 1 item

Die Krähwinkler suchen die papiere in die höhe zu treiben: etching 1830-1831, showing Nathan Mayer and three of his brothers are blowing into the air, by means of bellows, a number of documents marked 'Engl. Fonds a 3%, Französische Renten a 5%, Rothschild Loose' etc. Nathan is holding his hat in his hand, one of the brothers has fallen to the ground.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'The Shadow of a Great Man', 1836

000/247/4, 1 item

'The Shadow of a Great Man', caricature of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) by Edouart, 1836.

Cartoons and caricatures: 'Barrikaten-Scene am 18ten. September', c.1848

000/1134, 1 item

Barrikaten-Scene am 18ten. September, caricature by S. Stern depicting the scenes of a short-lived popular revolution in Frankfurt, 18 September 1848.  The scene includes a character named 'Baron von Rotschirm' who is thought to be Amschel Mayer Rothschild (1773-1855), surveying the scene of barricades.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Manchester in 1851', 1851

000/1739, 1 item

George Cruikshank print Manchester in 1851, showing Market Street and Mosley Street deserted, everyone having gone to the Great Exhibition in London. Nathan Mayer Rothschild appears to have settled in Manchester from about 1799. By about 1806 Nathan was living in Mosley Street with his warehouse directly behind the house in Back Mosley Street, a fashion which Nathan is credited with initiating.  In 1809, Nathan moved with his family to London, taking up residence in New Court, St Swithin's Lane. 

Cartoons & caricatures: 'The Lion's Share', [1875]

000/752, 2 items

‘The Lion’s Share’: colour print of Punch cartoon commenting on the Suez purchase, 1875. Modern colour reproduction in contemporary wooden frame, plus a slightly larger loose copy of the same image.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Famous City Men No. 1, Lord Rothschild', 1890

000/1213, 1 item

Colour cartoon drawing of Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), Famous City Men No. 1, Lord Rothschild. Published as a Supplement to the St. Stephen's Review, 25 October 1890.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'L' acchouchement, de Rothschild Frères, 1905', 1905

000/2291/7, 1 item

Postcard of the cartoon L' acchouchement, de Rothschild Frères, 1905, featuring caricatures of Rothschild, Loubet, Rouvier, Combes, Fallieres, Doumer.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Edouard de Rothschild', n.d.

000/1776, 1 item

Lithograph, showing a destitute Edouard de Rothschild (1868-1949) opening a carriage door for Alb[ert] Thomas and saying "Je suis fauché, mon prince!" as he holds out his cap. The verso has another cartoon, of a woman, Mme Channon, with a goat.

Cartoons & caricatures: work by SEM, n.d.

000/1398, 1 item

Cartoon by SEM, featuring inter alia Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947), Alphonse de Rothschild (1878-1942) and a woman, Camille Blanc, Gordon Bennett, Lord Savile and a woman.  

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Baron Gustave de Rothschild', 1900

000/2636, 1 item

Framed colour caricature of 'Baron Gustave de Rothschild and Baron Leonino', by SEM. Signed SEM, 1900. Depicts Gustave Samuel James de Rothschild (1829-1911) and his son in law, Emmanuel David Leonino (1864-1936). Baron Leonino married Gustave's daughter, Berthe Juliette de Rothschild (1870-1896) in 1892. 

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Roughing it at Halton', c.1915

000/2869, 1 item

Roughing it at Halton by Max Beerbohm, c.1915, Watercolour and pencil, depicting Alfred Charles de Rothschild (1842-1918).

Cartoons & caricatures: 'James de Rothschild, Esq.', 1922

000/429/1 and 000/2865, 2 items

Two copies of a large framed colour cartoon of James de Rothschild (1878-1957), entitled ‘James de Rothschild Esq taken from life. Drawn and etched by George Belcher, Nov, 1922’. Signed ‘George Belcher’. 1922. 

Cartoons & caricatures: 'The Rothschilds at Play' , 1926

000/2864, 1 item

The Rothschilds at Play, by Max Beerbohm, 1926. A pencil and watercolour caricature of Alfred Charles de Rothschild (1842-1918) and Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917) seated in a theatre box. 

Cartoons & caricatures: 'The Times', 2007

000/1775, 1 item

Original illustration for a cartoon that appeared in The Times Diary in Business News Section, 1 March 2007. Cartoonist is David Haldane. The subject of the cartoon is NMR advising Trinity Mirror Group on the disposal of The Racing Post.

Cartoons & caricatures: 'Great Bankers through the Ages', 2008

000/1907, 1 item

Original cartoon ‘Great Bankers Through the Ages’ by Chris Duggan which appeared in The Times, 11 January 2008.