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Charlotte de Rothschild (1825-1899)

Charlotte de Rothschild, born on 6 May 1825, was the eldest child and only daughter of James and Betty de Rothschild. In 1842 she married her English cousin, Nat, the son of James's brother Nathan Rothschild.

Charlotte was amongst the most outstanding artistic characters in her family. In 1839 she studied music under Chopin, and published her own melodies. She studied watercolours under Eugène Lami, with whom she founded the Society of French Watercolour Painters. Between 1835 and 1890, her homes became the focus of celebrated soirées attended by the most gifted artists, musicians, literary figures and bibliophiles.

She was noted for her sure eye and confident taste in the work of other artists.

After her marriage, she lived in the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, and although Nat bought Mouton in 1853, the couple never made a residence there.

Charlotte had four children. The first, Nathalie, died in infancy, and the third, Mayer Albert, lived for just four years. Her youngest child, Arthur, never married, and scandalised some of the family with his behaviour. However, Charlotte and he remained close. James Edouard, Charlotte's second child, married a Frankfurt cousin.

In 1873, in the early years of her widowhood, she bought the Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay, restoring and redeveloping this Cistercian property, and making it her summer residence.

She was a generous benefactor of charities, founding the Guild of Young Jewish Women which she supervised closely. On her death in 1899, some of her magnificent collections were bequeathed to the Louvre, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Cluny Museum.

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