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Acquisition of Jewish embroidered hangings by the Rothschild Foundation Saved for the Nation

  • Date: 16 September 2013
  • Area: National
One of the newly acquired embroidered hangings

One of the newly acquired embroidered hangings. Credit: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport

We are pleased to announce an exciting acquisition by the Rothschild Foundation of a set of seven embroidered hangings depicting views of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, export stopped by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA) administered by Arts Council England earlier this year.

Exquisitely worked in coloured silks and gold and silver-gilt threads, the embroideries are believed to date from the early 18th century, and are in astonishingly good condition. They are also, apparently, unique survivals. Research to date has revealed nothing which is directly comparable in terms of religious textiles.

The largest hanging includes the Hebrew inscription ‘Eloqeynu’, meaning ‘our God,’ suggesting that they were designed for Jewish religious purposes. The rarity of the hangings will encourage further research, which will illuminate the way in which such textiles were used.

The hangings will join the rich collection of textiles at Waddesdon Manor. For the remainder of the 2013 season, it is proposed to display a couple of the smaller hangings so that visitors to Waddesdon can have immediate access to this exciting acquisition. The set of hangings will then be conserved and mounted over the 2013-2014 winter before a special display is created for the 2014 Waddesdon season from March to October. 

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

‘This year, we have seen a number of items saved for the nation – including these beautifully decorative and hugely important silk depictions of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. This is down to the hard work of organisations like the Rothschild Foundation, who have done a stellar job in raising the necessary funds to keep these items on public display for the people of this country to enjoy and be inspired by.’

Useful links and further information

The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest

The Rothschild Foundation

Waddesdon Manor

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