The Rothschild Foundation is sad to announce the death of its Chairman, Lord Rothschild, businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and cultural leader, who made a profound difference to many areas of British life.

He led, amongst other institutions, the National Gallery, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the family’s flagship, Waddesdon Manor. He supported many causes, some close to his home in Buckinghamshire, others as far afield as Israel, Albania, Greece and the United States. He was committed to helping communities, the environment, education and above all, the arts. His exemplary service to his country was recognised on several occasions, with a GBE, a CVO and as a member of the Order of Merit.

Jacob Rothschild was an extraordinary person, and his loss will be felt by many. The family is committed to continuing his legacy and the foundation which he loved and endowed. His daughter Hannah assumes the role of Chair of the Rothschild Foundation.

We will all be inspired by his vision, ambition, and his commitment to excellence.

What's On

Art & architecture, Exhibitions

Guercino at Waddesdon: King David and the Wise Women

20 Mar – 27 Oct 2024

Wed-Sun, 11am-4pm

Free with house and grounds admission
Book now

Over 350 years since they were painted, five paintings by renowned Bolognese painter Guercino are on display together for the first time at Waddesdon in a new exhibition.

This historic exhibition spotlights one of the great painters of 17th-century Italy, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino (1591-1666). Brought together for the first time since leaving the artist’s studio in 1651, are Waddesdon’s King David alongside two associated paintings of sibyls from the National Gallery and another sibyl from the Royal Collection, painted the same year.

Born in the Italian town of Cento, Guercino was an excellent draughtsman whose compositions were known for their originality. In his lifetime, he created hundreds of altar pieces and paintings, becoming one of the most sought-after Italian Baroque painters and enjoying the patronage of popes, foreign courts, cardinals and dukes.


See close up Guercino’s brilliant use of paint to depict silk, flesh, ermine, paper, wood and stone, while conjuring up ideas about inspiration and contemplation, sight and foresight, poetry and prophecy. This is an opportunity to explore how King David relates to the sibyls.

Guercino, King David, 1651 © Waddesdon, A Rothschild House and Gardens

Also on display and never before seen in public is Guercino’s recently rediscovered depiction of Moses. This is one of the most important additions to Guercino’s body of work and adds to our understanding of his early maturity, a period considered by many to be his greatest for the dynamism, vigour and spontaneity of his painting.

Guercino, The Cumaean Sibyl with a Putto, 1651© The National Gallery, London

What is a sybil?

These female prophets or seers from classical antiquity were popular subjects in the 17th-century, appealing to Baroque artists as models of female authority.

More about Guercino

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri enjoyed a successful career spent mostly in Bologna and Rome. He acquired the nickname ‘Guercino’ (‘Little Squinter’) due to strabismus (the condition of having a squint). According to the biographer Carlo Cesare Malvasia, the infant Guercino was awoken by a loud noise with such a start that he was left with his right eye permanently fixed at an angle. Whether or not this story is to be believed, this does not appear to have impaired his vision or achievements as a painter.

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), Self-Portrait, 1630-32. Courtesy of Schoeppler Collection

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