A beautiful and sumptuously illustrated book that presents the highlights of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild’s Renaissance court treasures.
This book presents and explores the Waddesdon Bequest, the name given to the Kunstkammer or cabinet collection of Renaissance treasures which was bequeathed to the British Museum by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, MP in 1898. The Bequest is named after Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, a fairytale French chateau built by Baron Ferdinand from 1874–83, where the collection was housed during his lifetime.
It was understood at the time that a collection of this quality could never be formed again, given the rarity and expense of the pieces, and the problems of faking and forgery of just this kind of material.
The book will unlock the history and romance of this glorious collection through its exploration of some of its greatest treasures and the stories they tell. It will introduce makers and patrons, virtuoso craftsmanship, faking and the history of collecting from the late medieval to modern periods, as told through the objects. Scholarly catalogues have appeared for parts of this splendid collection but this book will open up the Bequest for the general reader.
By looking at individual objects in detail, and drawing on new photography and research, the book will enable readers to see and understand the objects in a completely different light.
More about the author
Dr Dora Thornton works at the British Museum as Curator of the Waddesdon Bequest and Renaissance Europe. She specialises in and has published widely on Renaissance Italy. Most recently she curated the British Museum exhibition, Shakespeare: Staging the World. She is now working on a new permanent gallery for the Waddesdon Bequest, which will open in 2015.