A Rothschild Renaissance: A New Look at the Waddesdon Bequest in the British Museum [Paperback]

Pippa Shirley (Editor); Dora Thornton (Editor)

ISBN: 9780861592128 | Published by: British Museum Press | Series: British Museum Research Publication | Volume: 212 | Year of Publication: 2017 | Language: English 200p, H297 x W210 (mm) 230

A Rothschild Renaissance


In 1898, Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild bequeathed to the British Museum the contents from the New Smoking Room at Waddesdon Manor, a collection of nearly 300 objects to be known as the Waddesdon Bequest. The Bequest contains some of the most beautiful examples of medieval and Renaissance craftsmanship, including exquisite pieces of jewellery, silver plate, painted enamels of Limoges, glass and microcarvings in boxwood. It is the only permanent collection to have a gallery to itself in the British Museum, one that has been redesigned for the 21st century which opened to great acclaim in 2015. To coincide with the new gallery supported by the Rothschild Foundation, a conference was held that opened up this remarkable collection to leading specialists who spoke on all areas of the Bequest. Subjects included new attributions for sculptures, a detailed discussion of the making and marketing of forgeries by Salomon Weininger, Frédéric Spitzer and Alfred André as well as new research on jewellery and its presentation both at Waddesdon Manor and in the new gallery at the BM. The collecting tastes of French and English Rothschilds were compared and contrasted, and a line of Arabic poetry enamelled on the Palmer Cup newly identified. This book presents these findings and positions the Waddesdon Bequest within a wider intellectual and historical context for the first time.

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