Earliest Known English Hanukah lamp saved for the Jewish Museum

  • 19 July 2010

With the help of a donation of £75,000 from the Art Fund, the Jewish Museum has successfully raised the funds to secure the 'Lindo lamp', the earliest known English Hanukah lamp and one of the treasures of British Jewish heritage.

The museum needed £282,000 in order to purchase the work. The National Heritage Memorial Fund contributed £145,000 to the total cost and in addition to the Art Fund’s grant the MLA/V&A Purchase Fund gave £30,000 .  The remaining funds were raised from private sources.

Before being purchased for the collection, the Hanukah lamp was on loan to the Jewish Museum, where it was on display for over 70 years, since the 1930s.  It was commissioned from silversmith John Ruslen in 1709 on the marriage of Elias Lindo to Rachel Lopes Ferreira. Elias’s father, Isaac Lindo (1638 – 1712), fled from the Inquisition in the Canary Isles and settled in London in 1670. The Lindos became prominent members of the early community of Spanish and Portuguese Jews in London and founder members of Bevis Marks Synagogue, established in 1701. They also distinguished themselves in science and literature, in charitable endowments and as patrons of the arts. The backplate of the Hanukah lamp is chased with the figure of the prophet Elijah fed by the ravens, in a play on Elias’ Hebrew name.

The lamp is on display in the gallery, Judaism: A Living Faith, which houses the museum’s magnificent collection of Jewish ceremonial art.The Jewish Museum reopened in March 2010 following an extensive £10 million redevelopment.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “We are pleased that funds have now been raised to secure this historic treasure for the Jewish Museum. We thank all our members for their crucial support, helping us save the Lindo Lamp as well as countless other beautiful works for the public to see.“

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The Art Fund helps Jewish Museum in its bid to save 300 year old silver Hanukah Lamp 21st July 2009

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