London Jewish Museum Buys Rare Chanukiah

A treasure of Portuguese and Spanish Jews in Britain, made for a wedding in a prominent family more than 300 years ago, has been saved after London’s Jewish Museum secured £282,000 in grants.

The silver Hanukah candleholder, known as the Lindo Lamp due to its commission for the marriage of Elias Lindo to Rachel Lopes Ferreira in 1709, will take pride of place in the Museum’s Judaism: A Living Faith show, which recently reopened following a £10 million redevelopment.

The Lindos figured prominently in the early community of Spanish and Portuguese Jews in London. They were founding members of the Bevis Marks Synagogue, established in 1701. Elias’s father, Isaac Lindo, 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, a play on the patron’s Hebrew name.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund awarded £145,000 to the campaign, supported by £75,000 from the Art Fund and £30,000 from the MLA/V&A Purchase Fund. The lamp had been on loan to the museum since the 1930s.

“Hanukah lamps are central to Jewish celebrations and the Lindo Lamp is particularly special as it is the first one known to have been made in England,” said Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Memorial Fund. “It is witness to the long history of Jewish people in this country, and it’s wonderful that the Fund has played a part in saving it for future generations.”