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Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor is a mansion at Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire, built between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898) of the Rothschild banking dynasty, who was Member of Parliament for nearby Aylesbury. It is owned by the National Trust.

A hilltop overlooking the village was levelled for the site of the house which was designed by Destailleur in an eclectic style based on 16th century French chateaux in the Loire Valley, but constructed on a steel frame with every modern convenience.

Baron Ferdinand installed his extensive collections of French 18th century tapestries, panelling, furniture and ceramics, English and Dutch paintings and Renaissance works of art. Extensive lansdscaping was carried out and the gardens enhanced with statuary, pavilions and an aviary.

When he died in 1898 the house passed to his sister Alice de Rothschild who further developed the collections. Baron Ferdinand's collection of Renaisance works left the house when it was bequeathed to the British Museum as "The Waddesdon Bequest".

In 1922 the property and collections passed to her great-nephew James A. de Rothschild of the French branch of the family, and he further enriched it with objects from the collections of his late father Baron Edmond James de Rothschild of Paris.

When James A. de Rothschild died in 1957 he bequeathed Waddesdon Manor, 120 acres of grounds and its contents to the National Trust, to be preserved for posterity.

A nearby ancillary property, The Pavilion at Eythrope, was constructed for Alice de Rothschild by architect George Devey. This and the rest of the Waddesdon estate remain in private hands.

Jacob, 4th Lord Rothschild has recently been a major benefactor of Waddesdon Manor through a private family charitable trust, commencing a major restoration, introducing new collections and enhancing the attractions for visitors. In an unusual arrangement, he has been given authority by the National Trust to run Waddesdon Manor as a semi-independent operation.

In a serious burglary on June 10 2003 around 100 french gold boxes were stolen from the collection.

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