Art collector, politician and philanthropist. Austrian nobleman born Paris, France, into the banking family. He was the sixth of the eight children of Baron Anselm Salomon von Rothschild (1803-1874) and Baroness Charlotte Nathan von Rothschild née de Rothschild (1807–1859). His siblings were: Mayer Anselm Leon von Rothschild (1827-1828), Caroline Julie Anselma von Rothschild (1830-1907), Hannah Mathilda von Rothschild (1832-1924), Sara Louis de Rothschild, (1834-1924), Nathaniel Mayer von Rothschild (1836-1905), Albert Salomon Anselm von Rothschild (1844-1911) and Alice Charlotte von Rothschild (1847-1922).
Came to London in 1859, drawn here by his cousin, Evelina Gertrude de Rothschild (1835-1866), whom he had loved since childhood. They were married on 28 June 1865 in the City of London registration district and lived at 143 Piccadilly. See Evelina's page for a note on this address. Only 17 months later she died in childbirth and he created the Evelina Children's Hospital in her memory. He never married again, entered politics, took up field sports and built the chateau-style Waddesdon Manor. He began collecting art and on his father's death in 1874 he was free to buy English paintings and French furniture and china in quantity. One of the Prince of Wales's set, he entertained the Prince and many of the top politicians. His Wikipedia page and The Rothschild Achieve give much information about this man.
In the 1871 census his occupation was described as a baronet and his name was given as Baron Ferdinand Rothschild. He was living at 143 Piccadilly, Westminster, together with a butler, two further male and four female domestic servants.
He applied to become naturalized as a British subject using the name of Frederick James Anselm de Rothschild and residing at 143 Piccadilly, Westminster. He claimed he was originally a subject of the City of Frankfurt on the Maine in the Empire of Germany and to have fulfilled the condition of having lived in the United Kingdom for at least five of the past eight years. This was granted and on 9 July 1872 he swore the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
When the 1881 census was taken he was recorded as gentleman and widower. His name was shown as Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild and he was still residing at 143 Piccadilly, Westminster, together with his youngest sister who was listed as Alice de Rothschild.
The 1883 edition of Kelly's Buckinghamshire Directory lists him as residing at both Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury and Leighton House, Leighton Buzzard.
In 1891 census he is described as a Member of Parliament, living at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, with nine male and fifteen female servants. Their occupations were listed as: house steward, hall porter, odd man, hall boy, under-butler, electric light attendant, scullery-man, two footmen, housekeeper, cook, kitchen-maid, scullery-maid, needle-woman, eight house-maids, two still room maids. Additionally, at the stables, there was a stud groom, his wife and niece, two coachmen, eight grooms, a gardener and his wife, whist at the laundry was the laundry engineer, his wife and three laundry maids.
He died on 17 December 1898 at Waddesdon Manor, on his 59th birthday and his body was interred in the Rothschild Mausoleum, West Ham Jewish Cemetery, Buckingham Road, London, E15 1SP. When probate was granted on 18 February 1899 to Baron Solomon Albert Anselm de Rothschild and Alice Charlotte de Rothschild his effects totalled £1,488,128-14s-8d.
To see how he is related to other members of the Rothschild family who feature on plaques on the London Remembers website see our entry for Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild.