Waddesdon Manor was built in the late nineteenth century (1874-91) by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the style of an early sixteenth-century French château. The Baron was an inspired collector, and the house was specifically designed to accommodate his fine collection of 18th-century French furniture, Sèvres porcelain, English portraits and other outstanding examples of the decorative arts. When Baron Ferdinand died in 1898 he left Waddesdon to his sister, Miss Alice. Upon her death the house passed to their French cousin James de Rothschild, who also inherited a substantial part of his father Baron Edmond’s extensive collection. In 1957, in order to ensure its future in perpetuity, Waddesdon was bequeathed to the National Trust by James de Rothschild. His widow Dorothy continued to manage the house until her death in 1988.
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From June till November 2014, the Stables Coach House at England's famed Waddesdon Manor will host a special exhibition featuring the Lod Mosaic, a rare Roman pavement excavated in Lod, Israel. Now a modern city, Lod has been occupied continuously since antiquity, but until now there has been only limited archaeological activity there or material evidence of previous inhabitants. Hence the significance of this mosaic's discovery: besides providing a new insight into the importance of the ancient city, it hints at the Roman treasures which still may remain hidden there.
To illuminate the mosaic's background, contemporary and contextual objects from the ancient Middle East, on loan from the British Museum, will be displayed at Waddesdon Manor alongside the finds from Lod. The exhibition will also highlight the Rothschild family's historical involvement in archaeological projects in the region, making use of material from Waddesdon's archive and collections. A lively programme of activities and events will accompany this exciting exhibition, which will be open to the public from 5 June to 2 November.
The Lod Mosaic is on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Centre.