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The rue de Courcelles Collection

Archives and artefacts deposited with The Rothschild Archive by Baron Nathaniel and Baronne Nili (b.1951) de Rothschild. Many items were formerly in the rue de Courcelles and at the family estate at Royaumont.

Access to some of these collections is restricted at the request of the donors and depositors. All papers later than 1945 are currently closed to researchers; for further information please contact The Rothschild Archive »

The rue de Courcelles Collection I, 1816-1990

000/2089, 32 boxes, 40 items

A collection of papers, artefacts and framed items concerning the French Rothschild family deposited by Baron Nathaniel (b. 1946) and Baronne Nili (b.1951) de Rothschild. The collection includes family prayer books; medals, including the Croix de Guerre awarded to Baron Robert de Rothschild (1880-1946) for service during the First World War and the Croix de Guerre awarded to Baron Elie de Rothschild for service during the Second World War; other awards and tokens, correspondence and family papers; printed matter; family photograph albums  and loose photographs; Rothschild coats of arms, Rothschild family death masks; minatures; watercolours engravings, lithographs, prints and paintings; textiles (dinner suit with Rothschild colours); Rothschild buttons with the family’s coat of arms; Rothschild table linen with the Rothschild coat of arms. 

List available

The rue de Courcelles Collection II, c.1830-1950

000/2351, 10 boxes

A collection of papers, artefacts and other items concerning the French Rothschild family deposited by Baron Nathaniel (b. 1946) and Baronne Nili (b.1951) de Rothschild. Many items were formerly at the family estate at Royaumont. The collection largely contains publications, sales catalogues and other printed material collected by the family, together with small collections of family correspondence and other personal documents.

The rue de courcelles Collection III, 1905-1976

000/2364, 10 boxes

A collection of printed and published articles, other cuttings, books, magazines and ephemera (such as invitations) mainly concerning the French Rothschild family. Many of the items were collected by Nathaniel's parents Elie and Lilliane. Also includes some family photographs and stud books of Haras de Meautry, 1959. 

List available

The rue de Courcelles Collection, sundry papers of the Fould-Springer family, 1828; c.1900-1999

000/2608, 2 boxes

A small collection of sundry papers of the Fould-Springer family, including family photographs, mainly of members of the Fould-Springer family; la arge rolled Rothschild family tree Stammbaum der Frenherrlichen familie Mayer Amschel von Rothschild, 26 September 1828, showing descendants of Rothschild family, also showing members of Worms, Schnapper, Montefiore, Goldschmidt, Horsheim, Beyfus and Sichel families; a large printed Rothschild family tree c.1970; congratulations received by Gustave de Rothschild (1829-1911), in his capacity of President du Consistoire Israelite de Paris on the marriage of his son Robert de Rothschild (1880-1946) to Gabrielle Nelly Beer (1886-1945) in 1907; letters of congratulation sent to Robert Fould-Springer, on the award of the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in recognition for his services, 1956.

The rue de Courcelles Collection, sundry papers of the Fould-Springer family, sales catalogues and sundry papers, 2003

000/2416, 2 boxes

A small collection of private papers concerning the estates of Cécile de Rothschild (1913-1995) and Max Fould-Springer (1906-1999). The accession includes copies of Christie's sale catalogues copncerning the sale of pieces from their collections.

The rue de Courcelles Collection, box of civil decorations awarded to James de Rothschild, c.1830-1868

000/2089/167, 1 box

A collection of civil decorations believed to have been awarded to Baron James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868), by nations and governments in recognition of banking and financial services undertaken by the French House of Rothschild to sovereign clients. James, founder of the French banking house. was in Paris from the age of 19, co-ordinating the purchase of specie and bullion for his brother Nathan (1777-1836). Between 1814 and 1815 he was the lynchpin in Nathan’s plan to supply Wellington’s armies with funds. Originally trading as J M Rothschild, James changed the name of the firm to de Rothschild Frères with James, Amschel (1773-1855), Salomon (1774-1855), Nathan (1777-1836) and Carl (1788-1855) as partners. By 1823 the Paris House was firmly established as banker to the French government. After the death of his brother Nathan in 1836, James took over the reins of the family firm and became the trusted adviser of ministers and kings. The Paris House continued to fund many loans to European governments, but the decline in public sector borrowing led James to concentrate on new lines of business, including the financing of raw materials trading, railway construction and manufacturing industries.

The decorations are mainly contained in an antique box; 14 are loose. Many decorations comprise several parts e.g. a badge and throat pendant (in some cases) together with sashes and ribbons, and miniature duplicates (also in some cases). Mostly made of base metal, some are made of silver, and some of the miniatures are made of low carat gold with diamond chips. Decorations identified include:

  • Order of the Medjidie (Turkey)
  • Order of St Vladimir (Russia)
  • Order of St Stanislaus (Russia)
  • Legion d’honneur (France)
  • Order of the Iron Crown (Austria)
  • Order of the Tower and Sword (Portugal)
  • Order of St Anna (Russia)
  • Order of the Red Eagle (Prussia)
  • Order of the Golden Lion (Hesse-Kassel)
  • Order of Leopold (Belgium)
  • Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spain)
  • Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles III (Spain)
  • Order of the Crown of Italy (Italy)
  • Order of the Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Vatican/Italy)

The rue de Courcelles Collection, bust of Baron James de Rothschild, c.1850

000/2163/3-4, 2 items

Marble bust of Baron James de Rothschild (1792-1868) by Jean-Auguste Barre, 1869. Jean-Auguste Barre (1811 –1896) was a French sculptor and medallist. Barre studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Jean-Pierre Cortot, and he is mainly known as a portrait sculptor. The bust has a separate contemporary marble plinth.

The rue de Courcelles Collection, safe from the rue Laffitte, c.1800

000/2163/2, 1 item

Nineteenth century bronze and wooden safe formerly in the offices of Banque Rothschild, rue Lafitte, Paris. It is believed that the safe was in the offices of de Rothschild Frères in the rue Lafitte for many years. When the premises in the rue Lafitte were rebuilt in the late 1960s, the safe was installed in the new Banque Rothschild building which opened in 1970. It can be seen in photographs in the article 'Paris: Une Banque Pilote’, L’oeil, Revue d’art, No 186-187, June-July 1970 (a copy is in 000/941/1). 

The rue de Courcelles Collection, a collection of 'Rothschild' monogrammed china, c.1870; c.1910

000/2163/1, 245 pieces

A collection of 245 assorted dinner service plates and bowls, many with the monogram 'RR' (Robert de Rothschild (1880-1946)) or 'GR' (Gustave de Rothschild (1829-1911)). Most of the plates are French porcelain, late 19th/mid-20th century, made by Jacquel in Paris and Pillivuyt, Mehun sur Yevre, Cher and J V Heillard Bordeaux and Sèvres. Some items are badly worn.

The rue de Courcelles Collection, Lami watercolours, 1882

000/2168/1-2, 2 items

Two watercolours by Eugène-Louis Lami (1800-1890), one left unfinished (a preparatory sketch). The watercolours were commissioned by the Rothschild family (Gustave de Rothschild (1829-1911), on the occasion of the engagement of Zoë, the first daughter of Gustave and Cécile (née Anspach) (1840-1912). They depict the family and their friends in the smoking room of the hotel at avenue Marigny. One of the watercolours was given to Zoë by the artist on the occasion of her wedding, 31 May 1882.

  • Watercolour by Lami  depicting the Smoking Room of 23, avenue Marigny, Paris. 1882, with, in front of the fireplace, Gustave de Rothschild (1829-1911), his daughter Aline de Rothschild (1867-1909), seated on a chair, his daughter (Bertha) Juliette de Rothschild (1870-1896), on the couch, Cécile, Baroness Gustave de Rothschild (1840-1912) and Mr. Montgomery; back, from left to right, Madame de Breteuil, the painter Eugéne Lami, Colonel Dillon; and on the couch, under the Rembrandt painting (from the Van Loon collection), Zoë Lucie de Rothschild (1863-1916), (the daughter of Gustave and Cécile) and her fiancé Baron Léon Lambert (1851-1919). Signed Eugène Lami lower right and dated 1882. (000/2168/1)
  • A sketch for the preceding work. (000/2168/2)

The rue de Courcelles Collection, artworks from Royaumont, c.1925-2003

000/2563, 18 items

A small collection of artworks, formerly stored at Royaumont comprising busts, original artworks, engravings and photographs. The collection includes:

  • Items relating to Tsi Raphael, a fleet of yachts of the Israeli Naval Academy, (used for training on the Skipper’s course) named after Raphael de Rothschild (1976-2000) (000/2563/2);
  • Plaster bust of a boy, presumed to be Elie de Rothschild (1917-2007). This piece may be a maquette for a sculpture. undated. (000/2563/3);
  • Bronze bust of Elie de Rothschild (1917-2007) as a young man. By Marcel Gimond, 1958. (000/2563/4);
  • Bronze bust of Elie de Rothschild (1917-2007) in later life. By Marie-Thérèse Givaudan, 1986. (000/2563/5);
  • Portrait of Robert de Rothschild (1880-1946), Bust length, wearing a grey suit by Philip Alexius de László, 1922 (000/2563/18);
  • Photographs and engravings of members of the Fould and Fould-Springer families;
  • Artworks depicting Rothschild houses and estates.

The rue de Courcelles Collection, First World War French army uniform of Robert de Rothschild, c.1914-1918

000/2654; 000/2491, 1 trunk, 6 items

First World War French army uniform worn on active service Robert de Rothschild (1880-1946): 

  • Adrian helmet; fabric cap (Calot);
  • four cream puttees;
  • four khaki puttees;
  • one pair of black ankle boots with silver spurs; o
  • ne pair of khaki hand warmers;
  • one military jacket with no buttons and Sous-Lieutenant stripes;
  • one military jacket with buttons and Lieutenant stripes.

Added to this collection are some related First World War artefacts collected by the Archive: small pair of antique field glasses, French, c.1910 in a leather case, made by 'Lemaire Fabt, Paris'; reproduction FrenchTrench map 'Honnecourt 57B SW3'; book of colour postcards Les Champs de Bataille de Reims Au Chemin des Dames (views of the battlefield of Reims and Chemin des Dames) (Éditions POL, c.1922); page from L'Illustration 14 April 1917 showing the troop advance on Saint-Quentin; copy of The War Illustrated, 20 July 1916, with a photo-panorama of 'The Great Advance'; copy of Le Petit Gironde, 9 September 1914.

Robert Philippe Gustave de Rothschild was born in Paris on 19 January 1880, the youngest child of Gustave de Rothschild (1829-1911) and grandson of the founder of the Paris House of Rothschild. Robert divided his time between his home in Paris, and his estate of Laversine Park, Oise. Electing to join the French army as a trainee interpreter in 1900, Robert’s training lasted for three years. Mobilised at the outbreak of war in August 1914, he spent the early part of the war attached to the 8th Division British Expeditionary Force as an interpreter.  The Division landed at Le Havre on 7 November 1914 and Robert’s expertise in several languages would be well utilised. However his military career between late 1915 and early 1917 is not well documented. At some point during this period, he was transferred from an attaché to the British Army to Staff Officer in the 1st Infantry Division of the French Army, under the command of Général Grégoire. The 1st Infantry Division fought at the Battle of Verdun in 1916 and the Second Battle of l'Aisne in 1917. In October 1917 Robert left the 1st Infantry Division and transferred to the 133rd Infantry Division under the command of Général Valentin. The 133rd Division spent the duration of 1917 occupying areas of Belgium and helping with the organisation of the conquered positions from the Battle of Passchendaele. Back home, Laversine Park was turned into a military hospital where Robert’s wife, Nelly (1886-1945), nursed the wounded. Their youngest son, Elie (1917-2007), was born at Laversine in 1917 into an uncertain world in the midst of war. 1918 bought intensive front line action for Robert.  Between 21 March and 3 April his Division formed part of the Anglo-French defence against Operation Michael, the German Spring Offensive. Almost immediately after, the Division was engaged in the Battle of the Lys fighting at Méteren on 16 April. Scarcely four months later the Division was engaged in the Third Battle of Picardy. In September and October the Division was involved in efforts to push towards the Hindenburg position, with violent fighting in the Saint-Quentin region. When the armistice was reached in November 1918 the 133rd Division was at Chimay, Belgium. Robert was officially recognised several times for his bravery by his commanding officers, mostly for leading reconnaissance missions and returning with valuable information. Robert was officially demobbed on 21 January 1919. During his service he had been awarded the Croix de Guerre with two citations: one bronze star (mentioned at regiment or brigade level) and one bronze palm (cited at army level). In February 1919 Robert’s commanding officer, Général Valentin of the 133rd Infantry Division, wrote to inform Robert that he had been put forward for Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur. For Robert, life resumed its pre-war pattern of business, fatherhood, patron of the arts, and polo player. On 10 July 1939, 20 years after his demobilisation, Robert, aged 59, received an order for mobilisation once again.  Forced to leave France during the Second World War, Robert and his family went to the United States of America, whereupon he was stripped of his French citizenship and his Légion d'honneur by the Vichy Government of France. Robert died in Switzerland on 25 December 1946.

The rue de Courcelles Collection, The Robert de Rothschild collection of photographs and moving images, c.1900-1935

000/2411, 713 items

A collection of photographic material in various formats. The majority of the items were created or received by Robert de Rothschild (1880-1946) and his immediate family, and includes material concerning Nelly de Rothschild, née Beer (1886-1945), Gustave de Rothschild (1829-1911), Cécile de Rothschild, née Anspach (1840-1912), Elie de Rothschild (1917-2007), Liliane de Rothschild, née Fould-Springer (1916-2003), Diane de Rothschild (1907-1996), Alain de Rothschild (1910-1982) and Cécile de Rothschild (1913-1995).

The collection falls into two categories of subject: military photographs (mainly concerning the First World War) and family photographs and artefacts. Robert trained as a mining engineer, and played a major role in the management of the Paris House, de Rothschild Frères. During the First World War, he served as a Lieutenant, receiving two citations. His wife, Nelly (1886-1945), whom he  married in 1907, nursed the wounded at Laversine, the family estate which was turned into a hospital during the hostilities. Robert shared the family's love of music and art, and experimented with early photography. His collection of photographs is extraordinary. The images date from the early nineteenth century. Many were taken in the heat of battle of the First World War, and depict troops at rest and in action. Robert clearly played an important role, and there are tantalising images of zeppelins and tanks on test missions, set-piece displays, parades and marches and shockingly stark images of destruction and dereliction. The collection includes many later happier images of the family and images show members of the family posing for formal portraits, together with images showing how Robert was experimenting with photographic techniques.

The collection comprises a total of 713 items: 164 Glass plate negatives, 414 Cellulose acetate negatives, 64 Prints, 25 Silver nitrates, 24 film reels and a portmanteaux suitcase  and 21 original photographic manufacturers’ boxes and wrappers, in which the collection was stored prior to its transfer to the Archive. The collection has been digitised.

List available