Study day at the National Gallery

ng study day

For the first time since the project started, JCH researchers and our growing group of affiliated graduate students were able to meet collectively and exchange ideas.

Leo Franks writes:

“On 25 April, the Jewish Country Houses study day convened. In a room generously provided by the National Gallery, the project’s doctoral students presented their research. These papers introduced the houses themselves and their associated collecting culture, as well as the intimately related topic of Jewish advocacy, politics and philanthropy. The day was neatly broken into two halves by lunch.

Isobel Muir presented her preliminary discoveries on Jewish collectors, philanthropists and mediators at the National and Tate Galleries, Colette Bellingham on The Red Book at Waddesdon Manor, and Friederike Schwelle on Jewish patrons and academics and their Egyptian archaeological endeavours. Following, Cynthia Cheloff introduced her work on Jewish activism and migration politics in America at the turn of the twentieth century, Sietske van der Veen on country houses belonging to the Jewish Dutch elite between the 1870s and the Shoah, and Ellery Weil on women’s nineteenth-century Jewish humanitarianism.

The day was full of piercing questions and eager dialogue. The investigators’ research found cross-roads in the Jewish country house, which acts as the structural home for Jewish cultural politics. It was revealing of the incisive research conducted by a new generation of academics into this prism of Jewish history. “


Our thanks to the National Gallery, and to Susanna Avery-Quash, Monika Böhm-Duchen and David Feldman for their generous input into this very successful event. Plenty of scope for another next year!