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Thomas Sunderland, 1744–1828, British
after Augustus Charles Pugin, 1762–1832, French
and Thomas Rowlandson, 1756–1827, British

Synagogue, Duke's Place, Houndsditch

Colored aquatint
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Chauncey Brewster Tinker
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Prints and Drawings
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IIIF Manifest:

Isaac Mendes Belisario was an active member of the Bevis Marks congregation. The first Sephardic synagogue to be established in London after Jewish resettlement in England was sanctioned by Oliver Cromwell in 1656. It opened in 1657 in a private house, but by the early 1690s the congregation had outgrown the space, and an elegant new building in nearby Bevis Marks was commissioned in 1694 and opened in 1701. Belisario made this watercolor of the interior of the synagogue around 1816, and the following year published the aquatint engraving made by Daniel Havell, which he dedicated to the congregation. Belisario's faithful rendering carefully delineates significant elements of the interior, including the ark, the reader's desk, and the women's balcony. The central figure may be a portrait of Raphael Meldola (1754-1828), who was chief rabbi at Bevis Marks from 1805 until his death. In the early nineteenth century there were six synagogues in London, the largest of which was the Great Synagogue, situated adjacent to Bevis Marks in Duke's Place. Founded in 1690 by Askenazic Jews, whose numbers had grown exponentially in the prior decade, the Great Synagogue represented a breakaway congregation from Bevis Marks, which up to that point had been London's only synagogue.

Gallery label for Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-09-27 - 2007-12-30)

Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-09-27 - 2007-12-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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