We continue to add to our collection, acquiring ground-breaking contemporary works of art as well as objects which are of historic value to Waddesdon.
Victorian family portraits
In 2017 a distinguished group of Victorian portraits comes on loan to Waddesdon. They depict the wife and young children of Nathan Mayer (‘Natty’), 1st Baron Rothschild.
This portrait of Evelina used to hang at the family’s country house, Tring Park. It is by Louise Jopling, one of the leading female artists of Victorian London. Born in Manchester and trained in Paris, she moved in the most advanced artistic circles of her time. In this work, Jopling contrasts the bright face of the child with a sombre symphony of blacks and greys; the bare trees with textures of the fur-trimmed coat and of the birds’ feathers.
On loan since 2015.
Annette and Lubin
In the 18th century the centre of the table during the dessert course was decorated with figures and vases, resembling a garden filled with statues. This sculpture was one of the largest of nearly 100 pieces of biscuit figures and decorations supplied with the Starhemberg dinner service in 1766, on display at Waddesdon. The biscuit pieces were missing when the service was bought in the 19th century but the Rothschild Foundation has gradually assembled the relevant groups since the mid-1990s. This is one of the most important acquisitions for Rothschild Collections.
Annette and Lubin, cousins and orphans, were sellers of fresh dairy and country products to the elegant visitors to the thermal baths at Spa in Belgium. Favourites of the aristocratic French visitors, they became unlikely international celebrities when a story based on their life was published in Paris in 1761.
Acquired in 2015.
Portrait of Jean-Henri Riesener
This portrait of Jean-Henri Riesener was painted by his son, Henri-François Riesener. Henri-François trained at the Académie Royale before the French Revolution and made his exhibition debut at the Salon in 1793. He fought in the Revolutionary wars but left the army to resume painting, exhibiting again at the Salon of 1799. This painting depicts the cabinetmaker near the end of his life, after the family fortune had disappeared with the Old Regime. He wears the grey powdered wig associated with an earlier epoch. The plain background focuses our attention on his face, scrutinised in moving detail, and on his frank, penetrating gaze. The open-necked shirt and unkempt appearance hint at the intimacy of this particularly sitting, and also recall conventional ways of depicting artists.
Acquired for Rothschild Collections in 2016.