Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild’s ‘Renaissance Museum’ was full of objects made of precious materials: hardstones, minerals, silver and gold. While the bulk of this collection was bequeathed to the British Museum on his death in 1898, examples of these extraordinary objects are still to be found at Waddesdon, in collections inherited from other members of the Rothschild family, and in the fabric of the building itself.
Waddesdon is full of works of art that celebrate, embody or express the wealth of the Earth. A trail around the house highlights some of these riches– earthenware and porcelain clays worked into vessels and sculptures, rocks mined from the earth and made into jewellery, caskets and chimney-pieces, minerals and plants transformed into dyes and pigments in tapestries and paintings and furniture of rare woods, resins, stones and metals – as well as allegorical representations of the wealth of the earth.
Some of the smaller objects and items from store are gathered together in the Exhibition Room so that visitors can closely examine materials, techniques and the different attitudes to these objects in the 18th century, when many of them were created, and the 19th century, when they entered Rothschild collections.
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