Dalmeny House contains two intermingled collections of art and objects: the Rosebery and Rothschild collections. Meticulously curated by Lady Rosebery.
The Rosebery Collection
The Rosebery collection incorporates both the pieces collected by the earlier Earls of Rosebery for Barnbougle Castle and the newly-built Dalmeny House and those assembled by the 5th Earl of Rosebery.
This collection of pictures and furniture includes fine views of the Estate and Edinburgh by some of the best-known Scottish painters. It also includes furniture made for the house and the family portraits in the Hall, Library and Dining Room.
The 5th Earl's career as a collector lasted from his school days almost until his death in 1929.
The Napoleon Room
The Rothschild Collection
The Rothschild family began its spectacular rise to prominence from a house in the Judengasse in Frankfurt. The five sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild established branches of the family bank in five European capitals and used their skill in the placement of government debt to build an enormous family fortune.
The sons of Nathan Rothschild, the brother who came to London, consolidated the family's social position by building large country houses and taking a part in agriculture, philanthropy, politics and country sports.
Baron Meyer de Rothschild, Nathan's third son, built Mentmore Towers, which he furnished with a dazzling collection of art and objects dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
It was a time when the misfortunes of the various European royal families had released on to the market a great number of pieces of the highest quality. Baron Meyer and his agents were quick to acquire many masterworks of decorative art from the previous three centuries.
Baron Mayer had only one child, Hannah, to whom Mentmore was left after he and his wife died in 1874 and 1875. Hannah married the 5th Earl of Rosebery in 1878, bringing this wonderful collection into the Rosebery family. The two continued to add to the collection until Hannah's tragically early death in 1890.
Combining the collections
At the death of the 6th Earl of Rosebery in 1974, it became necessary to sell Mentmore Towers and most of its contents to pay death duties. Many of the best objects, however, including the contents of the Drawing Room and the porcelain, were brought up to Dalmeny House to complement the Rosebery collection already there.