Lot 108: Pair of Torah Finials - Abraham Lopes de Oliveyra - London, 1740
15 November 2016
Jerusalem, IsraelLive Auction
Description: Pair of Torah finials, created by the Jewish silversmith Abraham Lopes de Oliveyra. London, 1740. Silver, cast, pierced, engraved and partly gilt. Marks: silversmith's mark (A?O), city, year and silver standard. Rare finials, uncharacteristic to the Dutch silver style of other works created by de Oliveyra. The top of each finial is terminated in a pineapple ornament, within a wreath of leaves. A disc shaped as a five-petal flower, attached to the upper body of the finial, which consists of three compressed spherical sections: the upper one with engraved decoration in geometric patterns; the central one is pierced and engraved with five kinds of flowers and foliage; an engraved band of acanthus leaves decorate the lower one. Soldered to each one of the compressed spherical sections are five scrolled straps-hooks with a ring for suspended bell (on the top tier small bells, in the center - middle sized ones and on the lowest tier the largest bells). A cylindrical stem with gadrooned base; on its upper part - a gilt, engraved geometric pattern, with applied beading above. Each finial consists of four parts, fixed to each other with designated bumps and slots. Within the finial hollow body is an additional cylindrical stem, embracing the central one which is the main stem of the finial, and securing all the parts together. The Jewish silversmith Abraham Lopes de Oliveyra was born in Amsterdam in 1657 to a Family of Portuguese origin; arrived in London in 1697 where he passed away in 1750. De Oliveyra, who studied the art of silver crafting and engraving in Holland (and also created engravings), was the only Jewish silversmith in England in his period. During his first years in London he was obliged to work in cleaning and fixing silverware in the Spanish synagogue, until he received the official certificate to use a hallmark and he started to create silverware in his own workshop. Among his known works are 11 pairs of Torah Finials, "Yad" - Torah pointer, and a hanging Shabbat Lamp, most of them are found in museum collections, mainly in the London Jewish Museum. The name of the collector - Philip Salomons Esq. - is engraved at the base of the legs, and inside are engraved the initials of his name and the digits 13 and 14 (serial numbers). The collector Philip Salomons (1796-1867), brother of Sir David Salomons, (a prominent figure in the struggle to achieve emancipation for Jews in England in the 19th century; first Sheriff and first Jewish Lord Mayor of London, and one of the first two Jewish members in the House of Representatives of the city), maintained a private synagogue at his house in Brighton and a collection of Jewish ceremonial objects. In the introduction to the catalogue of the Jewish Museum in London, Cecil Roth wrote the following information regarding the Salomon's Judaica collection: after his death the collection was acquired by Reuben Sassoon, (1834-1905, son of David Sassoon the First), who was a neighbor of Salomons, and in due course passed, for the most part, into the possession of the great collector David Salomon Sassoon. According to Roth, both collections - the collection of Salomons and the Sassoon collection - were largely responsible for the outstanding success of the Judaica exhibition held in Royal Albert Hall in London in 1887. Exceptionally, the finials offered here are marked on the inner surfaces only. Each finial is marked three times: twice with four marks and once with two marks. Miniature London marks appear on some bells as well. A similar phenomenon, of marks which appear on the inner surfaces only, is repeated in a different pair of Torah Finials created by de Oliveyra, preserved in the collection of the Jewish Museum in London (see in the Museum's catalogue, no. 112). Height: 27 cm. Good condition. In the finial marked with the digit 13, the flat disc ornamentation shaped like a flower is detached. Several bells and clappers are not original. Miniature holes on top pineapple ornaments. It is possible that small crown ornaments on top are missing. Literature: 1. Catalogue of the permanent and loan collections of the Jewish Museum, London, edited by R. D. Barnett. London, 1974. Pp XIII, XVIII, XXV, 27-28, 35, 74. 2. Anglo-Jewish Silver: an Illegal Mark Discovered, by Jonathan Stone. In: The Antique Collector, Volume 56, Number 2. London, February 1985, pp 64-68. 3. Jackson's Silver & Gold Marks of England, Scotland & Ireland, Edited by Ian Pickford, London, 1989, pp. 56 (cycle XIV), 193. Provenance: 1. Collection of Philip Salomons, London. 2. Sassoon family collection.