In 1874 Ferdinand de Rothschild bought the Waddesdon estate and commissioned French architect, Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, to build a country house to entertain friends and family. The project was immense; the hill-top on which the house stands was levelled, drives and terraces were cut and the grounds landscaped and planted with mature trees. Ferdinand, like other members of his family, was an avid collector. Waddesdon is renowned for its superb collections in what became known as ‘the Rothschild style’ – English 18th-century painting combined with French decorative arts. Today, still managed by the family on behalf of the National Trust, it is a vibrant expression of Rothschild spirit, with thriving programmes of events and activities, changing exhibitions and growing collections of contemporary art and architecture.