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Hannah Mary Rothschild CBE (born 22 May 1962) is a British writer, businesswoman, philanthropist and documentary filmmaker. She also serves on the boards of various organizations. In August 2015, she became the first female to Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery in London;[1] after an extension of her term she resigned in 2019.

Hannah Mary Rothschild

Born (1962-05-22) 22 May 1962 (age 57)
Spouse(s)William Lord Brookfield (divorced)
Parent(s)Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild
Serena Dunn Rothschild


Early lifeEdit

Hannah Mary Rothschild was born on 22 May 1962. She is the eldest child of Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, and his wife, Serena Dunn Rothschild. Through her father, she is a member of the Rothschild banking family. She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School, Marlborough College and she read Modern History at St Hilda's College, Oxford.


A documentary filmmaker, Rothschild has made films including profiles of Frank Auerbach, Walter Sickert, R. B. Kitaj and the BBC series Relative Values and The Great Picture Chase. For BBC's Storyville series and HBO she has produced The Jazz Baroness (2008), about her great-aunt Pannonica de Koenigswarter and Hi Society (2009). A fly-on-the-wall documentary followed. Mandelson: The Real PM? (2010) concerns the UK's former Business Secretary Peter Mandelson in the run-up to the 2010 general election.[2]

In addition to her Storyville documentary about her great-aunt, jazz patron Pannonica de Koenigswarter, Rothchild's biography of her, The Baroness: The Search for Nica the Rebellious Rothschild, was published by Virago in 2012. A few years earlier, a radio documentary profile of Nica, The Jazz Baroness, was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on 12 February 2008.[3][4] Her documentaries and shorts have aired on the BBC, HBO, PBS and others and been screened and won awards at Telluride, Tribecca, London, Sheffield film festivals. She has written screenplays for Working Title and Ridley Scott.

Her biography of her great-aunt Pannonia de Rothschild ‘The Baroness:the search for Nica the Rebellious Rothschild’ was published by Virago (ISBN/1844086054) and Knopf in 2013. It was described as ‘Riveting, touching and insightful’ (Daily Telegraph), ‘Wholly gripping’ (Guardian), ‘Nimble writing, brilliant story’ (The independent).

Rothchild's first novel The Improbability of Love, set in the art trade, was published in May 2015.[5] The story follows a female protagonist who comes across a lost Watteau and becomes embroiled in the dealings of the art world's elite. The Guardian said "her depiction of the rarefied art world is gripping". The book was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize[6] and was joint winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. It has been translated into more than ten languages and a TV sergers produced by Steve Golson (Spotlight and Reverent) is in pre production.

Her third book, a novel ‘The House of Trelawney’ (ISBN/1526600608) will be published in February 2020 by Bloomsbury and Knopf. It follows the lives and fortunes of three generations of a dysfunctional Cornish aristocratic family through the crash of 2008.

Rothschild has lectured on art and literature at the Getty Institute, Courtauld, the Royal Academy, the Hay Festival and written for many publications, including The Times, Telegraph, Vanity Fair, Vogue, The Spectator and Harpers Bazaar.

She is a Non-Executive Director of RIT Capital Partners and Windmill Hill Asset Management.


In 2009, she became a trustee of the National Gallery in London[7] and became the liaison trustee for the Tate Gallery in 2013.[8] In August 2015, she became the first woman to chair the National Gallery's board. In 2017, her term was extended by four years; however she later resigned from the position in June 2019 citing a wish to devote more time to writing and to her family’s wide-ranging activities and philanthropic concerns. [9]

She took over from her father Jacob as chair of Yad Hanadiv in July 2018.

She is also a trustee of The Rothschild Foundation, a registered charity,[10] whose activities include preserving Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire on behalf of its owner, the National Trust.

Rothschild was formerly a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery and the ICA. She was the co-founder of the charity Artists on Film.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1994, she married William Lord Brookfield[11] and had three daughters, but they have since divorced.

Title, styles and honoursEdit

  • 22 May 1962 – 20 March 1990: Miss Hannah Mary Rothschild
  • 20 March 1990 – 9 June 2018: The Honourable Hannah Mary Rothschild
  • 9 June 2018 – present: The Honourable Hannah Mary Rothschild CBE

In the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the arts and to charity.[12]


  1. ^ Brown, Mark (8 December 2014). "Hannah Rothschild to become first woman to chair National Gallery". The Guiardian. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Storyville, 2010-2011, Mandelson: The Real PM?". BBC Four. 28 November 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  3. ^ "The Jazz Baroness website".
  4. ^ BBC Radio 4. "The Jazz Baroness".
  5. ^ London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781408862445
  6. ^ Feay, Suzi (20 April 2016). "The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild review – Baileys-shortlisted art world caper". The Guardian.
  7. ^ National Gallery: Board of Trustees
  8. ^ Tate Gallery: Current Trustees
  9. ^
  10. ^ Charity Commission. THE ROTHSCHILD FOUNDATION, registered charity no. 1138145.
  11. ^ Biography at Rothschild Archive
  12. ^ "No. 62310". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 2018. p. B9.

External linksEdit