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NMR Bicentenary 1998: artefacts, publications and exhibition

The year 1998 marked 200 years since Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), the third son of Mayer Amschel Rothschid (1744-1812), set off from Frankfurt to England, and so laid the foundations of the business that was to become N M Rothschild & Sons. The then chairman of NMR, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, was determined that the firm should mark this auspicious anniversary in a number of ways.

Sir Evelyn had commissioned the historian Professor Niall Ferguson to produce the first comprehensive history of the London banking house, stipulating that the volume be ready for publication in the bicentenary year. The World's Banker: the history of the house of Rothschild, Niall Ferguson (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998) was duly published in 1998, after lengthy research in The Rothschild Archive, and other archives in the UK and Europe.

A major exhibition was also conceived and planned. The NMR Bicentenary exhibition,  The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR) opened at the Museum of London on 28 January 1998, and ran until 28 July.

A number of 'Bicentenary' artefacts were also commissioned: a specially struck gold coin, given to all staff and, courtesy of Château Lafite, a magnum of celebration Rothschild wine.

For letters of thanks sent to sir Evelyn de Rothschild for Bicentenary gifts and invitations see Chairman's Office: Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: 'Bicentenary Franking Stamp', 1998

000/674, 1 item

Bicentenary franking stamp used on outgoing mail from the New Court post-room with a message during the NMR Bicentenary year, 1998. [Franking is a pre-paid postage option where a franking mark is printed directly onto the envelope or a postage label].

NMR Bicentenary 1998: 'facsimile 'N M Rothschild' notebook, 1998

000/2761, 5 items

NMR Bicentenary 1998: facsimile 'N M Rothschild' notebook. Five examples of the slipcased blank notebook, bound in red leather, embossed in gold Notes N.M. Rothschild that was produced a as corporate gift for the bicentenary. The design of the volume is based on an original Customer Account Ledger, the original of which will be found in I/218/43, the  earliest Account Book recording Nathan's customers' accounts, 1800-1801. The original volume bears the words "Ledger N M Rothshield" embossed on the cover. The spelling is corrected in the facsimile volume.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: 'Bicentenary Magnum', 1998

000/265, 6 items

NMR Bicentenary 1996: Bicentenary Magnum: images of the Bicentenary Magnum produced in 1998, a Special Reserve Red Bordeaux (1995) blended by Château Lafite in celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the arrival in Britain in 1798, of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836). The label features a silhouette of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, and the neck of the bottle features 'NMR' in raised glass.The wine was produced in small quantities as a corporate and celebratory gift.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: 'Bicentenary Coin', 1998

000/686, 000/1353, 21 items

Examples of the NMR bicentenary gold coin. The coin takes the form of a small gold medallion minted in 14ct gold. It is hallmarked with 585 on the rim of the coin. It measures 3.5 cm diameter, 2 mm thick and weighs approximately 11.8g. The coin bears on one side a motif the the five arrows, pointing downwards, tied with a ribbon. [this was the corporate  logo of N M Rothschild & Sons at the time]; the other side reads 'Merchants and Bankers: N M Rothschild & Sons, 1798-1998'. The coin was presented in a plastic capsule inside a 'Rothschild blue' velvet lined presentation box. The inside of the box bears the legend 'to commemorate the bicentenary of the foundation in 1798 of N M Rothschild'. The coins were produced to mark the bicentenary year, 1998 (two hundred years since Nathan Mayer Rothschild arrived in Manchester in 1798). They were given as a gift to  all NMR employees, and also given as corporate gifts.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: reproduction Nathan Mayer Rothschild mourning handkerchiefs/scarfs, 1976-1977; 1998

000/2118; 000/2694, 2 boxes; 2 items

Examples of reproduction Nathan Mayer Rothschild mourning handkerchiefs.scarfes, depicting Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), printed onto red silk and onto yellow silk.

It is believed that the red silk version was commissioned c.1977 at the request of Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836); this accession includes correspondence dated 1976 from Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild (1910-1990) regarding the commissioning of this item as a corporate gift.

The yellow silk version was commissioned for the 1998 exhibition The Life and Times of NM Rothschild (NMR/The Museum of London) to mark the bicentenary of the arrival of Nathan Mayer Rothschild in England in 1798. 

These items are modern reproductions of a silk handkerchief printed by H Heath in 1836, as a mourning item in memory of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836). The handkerchief depicts Nathan Mayer Rothschild centre, with the caption 'Nathan Mayer Rothschild on the London Exchange'. Above his head is 'Died at Frankfort, July 1836 Aged 59 Leaving Property to the Amount of 5,000,000 sterling'. The corners contain roundels referring to loans issued by Nathan's business house, while the bottom bears the caption 'Equally distinguished for his commercial skill and Enterprize [sic] and for his charitable and benevolent disposition' This is translated into German, French and Italian on the other three sides.

000/2694 includes two framed examples of the reproduction yellow silk handkerchief, together with a framed example of the original 1836 handkerchief in crimson silk.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: Bicentenary volume, 'The World's Banker: the history of the house of Rothschild', 1998

000/2760, 1 volume

NMR Bicentenary 1998: Bicentenary volume, The World's Banker: the history of the house of Rothschild, Niall Ferguson (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998). The volume, the first comprehensive history of the London banking house, was commissioned at the request of the then Chairman of NMR, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, who stipulated that the volume be published in 1998, the NMR Bicentenary year. The volume is slip-cased in a presentation box.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, 'The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836', marketing and publicity material, 1998

000/714, 000/1710/2, 29 items

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR): marketing and publicity:

  • The City magazine, March 1998, featuring an article on NMR bicentenary exhibition;
  • examples of leaflet advertising the exhibition; 
  • Museum of London Press pack for the exhibition;
  • 25 large copies of the poster advertising the exhibition;
  • one large plastic framed copy of the exhibition poster.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, 'The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836', exhibition text and captions, 1998

000/1408/1, 1 file

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR): exhibition texts and captions: A ring binder folder containing copies of the texts and captions (in order of display) from the Bicentenary exhibition.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836: photographs, 1998

000/1452/1-59, 1 file

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836: photographs. A small collection of photographs of the exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836, held at the Museum of London. The photographs, taken by staff of the Archive show the exhibition displays, and general views of the exhibition.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, 'The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836', exhibition catalogue, 1998

000/1408/2, 1 volume

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR): exhibition catalogue: The Life and Times of N M Rothschild, 1777-1836, Victor Gray and Melanie Aspey (eds.) (London: The Rothschild Archive, 1998).

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, 'The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836', music from the exhibition, 1998

000/771, 4 CDs

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR): music from the exhibition: four CDs featuring music composed by friends of the Rothschild family, including pieces by Mendelssohn, Chopin, Spohr, Rossini, and Paganini. The music was compiled for use at exhibition events.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836', exhibition opening reception: sundry ephemera, 1998

000/1710/1, 1 file

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR): Exhibition opening reception: sundry ephemera:

  • invitation to a reception at the Museum of London, 15 June 1998;
  • guest list for the Reception held at the Museum of London 26 January 1998; 
  • copies of speeches (in presentation wallet) given by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and Eddie George Reception held at the Museum of London 26 January 1998.

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836, exhibition opening reception: photographs, 1998

000/863/1-10, 1 file

A small collection of photographs of the reception hosted by Sir Evelyn and Lady de Rothschild on behalf of NMR at the Museum of London on 26 January 1998, the opening of the Exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836. [Note the images were taken before guests had arrived, no persons depicted].

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, 'The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836', ceremonial scissors, 1998

000/619, 1 item

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR): pair of ceremonial scissors (by Asprey of London) in a presentation box used to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, at the reception hosted by Sir Evelyn and Lady de Rothschild on behalf of NMR at the Museum of London on 26 January 1998, the opening of the Exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, 'The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836', film recordings, 1998

000/1057; 000/1084, 13 VHS cassettes; 1 DVD; 1 item

NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR): film recordings:

  • Three official Videos of the exhibition in PAL, NTSC, SECAM;
  • One VHS recording of exhibition;
  • Nine Videos shown as part of the exhibition (3 VHS, 2 Betacam, 1 Betacam in NTSC format);
  • Copy of these videos on 1 DVD.
  • International Non- Broadcast Media award for N M Rothschild & Sons' video of the exhibition The Life & Times of N M Rothschild 1777-1836: award and certificate, 1998.