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Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild, (née Montefiore) (1821-1910)

Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild came from a distinguished line of Anglo-Jewish aristocracy. Her father, Abraham Montefiore, was the brother of Sir Moses Montefiore. Her mother, Henrietta, was the daughter of Mayer Amschel Rothschild. Her marriage in 1840 to Anthony de Rothschild produced two daughters, Constance and Annie. The family lived at 107 Piccadilly, and in 1851 moved to the estate at Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, an area they endowed with public amenities for their tenants.

Wealthy, cultivated, well-educated and imbued with a powerful sense of religion and moral obligation, she focused her life around duty and service to others, becoming famous for a range of philanthropic works, from nursing sick villagers to founding village schools to participating in the management of the Jews’ Free School for poor children. Her position as the wife of Sir Anthony gave her an unrivaled social status that enabled her to found  the first independent Jewish women’s philanthropic association in Victorian England,  the Jewish Ladies’ Benevolent Loan Society and the Ladies’ Visiting Society. These benevolent societies were among many charitable organisations established by Jewish communities in England to assist the Jewish poor. Always concerned for her ‘less favoured sisters’ Lady Rothschild initiated and financed programs for immigrant girls after thousands of East European immigrant Jews flooded England from 1881 onwards. Following her example, her daughters Constance and Annie were later to play prominent roles in Jewish social philanthropy.

Archive sources

The Archive holds scant papers of Lady Anthony de Rothschild. Many of her private papers were inherited by her daughter, Constance, Lady Battersea (née de Rothschild) (1843-1931), who published extracts from her mother's papers, and her own reminiscences of family life. See:

Lady de Rothschild 1821-1910, extracts from her Notebooks, with a preface by Constance, Lady Battersea, (Arthur L.Humphreys, 187 Piccadilly, W, 1912). 

Reminiscences, Constance, Lady Battersea, (Macmillan and Co., Limited, St. Martin's Street, London, 1922). 

Lady de Rothschild and her daughters, 1821-1931, Lucy Cohen (John Murray, London, 1935). This volume, about the life of Lady Louise de Rothschild (1821-1910) and her daughters Constance and Annie, draws heavily on Constance's journals, diaries and correspondence, which Lady Battersea left to Lucy Cohen, one of her executors. 

[Note: some sources refer to Lady Anthony de Rothschild as 'Louisa'; this possibly reflects the German pronunciation of 'Louise'.]

Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild, correspondence, c.1839-1840; 1862-1890

000/136, 1 file

A small collection of letters written by Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild to her daughters, Constance and Annie.

Transcripts available in the Reading Room

Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild, drawings, 1838

000/1539, 1 item

Charcoal drawing signed by Louise de Rothschild, December 1838. The drawing is of a young woman, head and shoulders only, wearing a dark blue frilled dress with white lace collar, and her hair in a pleated bun. She is believed to be Hannah Mayer Rothschild (1815-1864), Lady Louise de Rothschild's sister-in-law.

Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild, estate papers, c.1850-1920

000/417, 2 boxes

Papers relating to the estate of Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild.

Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild, memorials, c.1910

000/2021, 2 items

Letter entitled ‘Memorial to the late Lady de Rothschild’, from A.E.Hodges, October 1910. Printed photograph of Lady de Rothschild.

Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild, music dedicated to Lady de Rothschild, 2002

000/1255, 1 CD

Modern CD recording, Recuerdo Triste, guitar works of Trinidad Huerta, performed by Stuart Green, Teresa Radomski and James Radomski. The CD includes a recording of the piece "Chi mai di questo core" (for guitar, soprano and piano) by Trinidad Huerta, which was originally dedicated to Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild (1821-1910). (Harmonicorde Recordings, 2002).

Photocopied text of lyrics and music of "Chi mai di questo core" by Trinidad Huerta, from an original in the Biblioteca Musical Municipal de Madrid. The Spanish guitarist Trinidad Huerta (1800-1874) was acclaimed during his lifetime as the Paganini of the guitar.