London's Jewish Museum
today announced that it is getting closer to saving a 300 year old Hanukah lamp for the nation, thanks to the support of independent charity The Art Fund and other funding bodies. The 'Lindo lamp' is the earliest known English Hanukah lamp and is one of the most important treasures of British Jewish heritage in the museum.
The museum has received grants totalling to £250,000 towards the sum of £300,000 needed to purchase this unique piece of 18th century silver Judaica from its current owners. The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) has agreed to contribute £145,000 while independent charity The Art Fund and the MLA /V&A Purchase Fund have awarded £75,000 and £30,000 respectively. However, the museum still needs to raise the remaining £50,000 from private sources in order to secure the future of this outstanding item and to prevent it from being removed from the public sphere.
The Hanukah lamp has been on loan to the Jewish Museum since the 1930s and has been on display for over 70 years. It was commissioned from silversmith John Ruslen in 1709 on the marriage of Elias Lindo to Rachel Lopes Ferreira. The Lindos were prominent members of the early community of Spanish and Portuguese Jews in London and founder members of Bevis Marks Synagogue, established in 1701. Eliass father, Isaac Lindo (1638 1712), fled the Inquisition in the Canary Isles and settled in London in 1670. The backplate of the Hanukah lamp is chased with the figure of Elijah fed by the ravens, in a play on the patrons Hebrew name.
The Jewish Museum is currently underway with a major £10 million Development Project, part funded by a £4.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and plans to reopen in early 2010. The expansion will triple the space at the museums flagship Camden Town premises, bring together the collections, displays and activities of its two former sites and create new education facilities and exhibition galleries with hands-on displays for children and families. The lamp would be on public display in the newly developed gallery, Judaism: A Living Faith, housing the museums magnificent collection of Jewish ceremonial art which has been awarded Designated status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in recognition of its outstanding national importance.