Lord Jacob Rothschild, financier and member of the Rothschild banking family, dies aged 87

By MARK DUELL – Daily Mail

Lord Jacob Rothschild – the financier and member of the Rothschild banking family – has died at the age of 87, his family announced today.

The British peer, who was also well-known in the arts and heritage world, started his career in the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, in 1963.

He then went on to co-found the then J Rothschild Assurance Group, now St James’s Place, with Sir Mark Weinberg in 1980.

Lord Rothschild – who had four children including the financier Nat Rothschild – also founded Windmill Hill Asset Management to manage the family’s philanthropic portfolio.

His family have an estimated fortune of around £82 million, according to last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, and give away a reported £66million to Jewish causes, education and art.

During his career, Lord Rothschild held roles such as deputy chairman at the then BSkyB Television and was also chairman of trustees at The National Gallery.

Lord Jacob Rothschild has died at the age of 87, his family announced in a statement today

Lord Rothschild, who was educated at Eton College and Christ Church Oxford, also had a role as chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

In 1992 he also became president of the then-Institute of Jewish Affairs, now known as the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

The family said in a statement today: ‘Our father Jacob was a towering presence in many people’s lives, a superbly accomplished financier, a champion of the arts and culture, a devoted public servant, a passionate supporter of charitable causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist and much-loved friend, father and grandfather.

‘He will be buried in accordance with Jewish custom in a small family ceremony and there will be a memorial at a later date to celebrate his life.’

The Rothschild Foundation said Lord Rothschild was an ‘extraordinary person’ who ‘made a profound difference to many areas of British life’.

It confirmed that Lord Rothschild’s daughter, Hannah, would succeed him as chair of the Rothschild Foundation.

The foundation said: ‘He was committed to helping communities, the environment, education and above all, the arts.’

It added: ‘Jacob Rothschild was an extraordinary person, and his loss will be felt by many.

‘The family is committed to continuing his legacy and the foundation which he loved and endowed.’

Lord Rothschild – whose full name and title was Nathaniel Charles (Jacob), 4th Lord Rothschild – was the eldest son of Nathaniel (Victor), 3rd Lord Rothschild and Barbara Judith, Lady Rothschild.

He was educated at Eton College and Christ Church Oxford, where he gained a first in history while being tutored by famed historian Hugh Trevor-Roper.

In 1961, he married Serena Mary Dunn, a granddaughter of the Canadian financier Sir James Dunn. She died in a hospital in London in January 2019 after an illness.

Lord Rothschild became a partner in NM Rothschild & Sons in 1963, at a time when his father was chairman.

He then left the bank in 1980 to take control of the Rothschild Investment Trust and co-founded what is now St James’s Place.

Lord Rothschild became chairman of the RIT Capital Partners investment trust, and its subsidiary J Rothschild Capital Management.

From November 2003 until his retirement in 2008, he was deputy chairman of BSkyB and until 2008 he was a director of financial group RHJ International.

Lord Rothschild was also known for his work in the arts world, having been chairman of trustees of the National Gallery from 1985 to 1991, and then chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund from 1992 to 1998.

From 1994 to 1998, he was chairman of the British National Heritage Lottery Fund, overseeing the distribution of £1.2billion in grants from lottery proceeds.

A renowned patron to the arts, Lord Rothschild also sat for numerous portraits, including by Lucian Freud and David Hockney.

He was also a trustee of the State Hermitage Museum of St Petersburg, and of the Qatar Museums Authority – before retiring from both roles.

Lord Rothschild also played a major role in the restoration of Somerset House in London, and carried out the restoration of the 18th century Spencer House.

In 1988, he inherited from his aunt, Dorothy de Rothschild, the Waddesdon and Eythrope estates in Buckinghamshire.

Waddesdon Manor was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 1880s and bequeathed to the National Trust in 1957 by his cousin, James de Rothschild.

He was involved in the restoration of Waddesdon Manor through a private family charitable trust, and the site is now managed with the National Trust in a semi-independent operation.

The site was a regular venue for visiting heads of state including US presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Margaret Thatcher also received French president François Mitterrand there at a summit in 1990.

Lord Rothschild was appointed a Member of the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, and received the Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy in 2013.

Dickie Arbiter, Queen Elizabeth II’s former press secretary, tweeted today: ‘A good and kindly man – very sad. Long life to his family.’

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