Friday, 3 October 2008

Anniversary of Britain's first Jewish MP is marked at Waddeson

by Charlotte Crow

The 150th anniversary of the first Jewish MP’s entrance into the House of Commons is being marked at Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury by the loan of a painting marking the historic moment. Henry Barraud’s large oil canvas of 1872, on show until the end of the month, depicts the introduction of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1808-79) to the House of Commons on July 26th
1858 by his supporters, the Liberal leader Lord John Russell and Mr Abel Smith.

Lionel had first stood as a Liberal candidate for the City of London in 1847. Refusing to swear the requisite oath on the Bible, he spent the next eleven years winning six by-elections but unable to represent his electorate.

The Rothschild family had played a leading role in the campaign to secure equal political rights for Jews in Great Britain. Lionel de Rothschild, was the son of the Frankfurt founder of the London bank N.M. Rothschild and Sons Ltd. It is they who have loaned the painting to Waddesdon Manor, itself styled after a 16th-century French chateau and built by Lionel’s cousin Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild of the Viennese branch of the family in 1874.

The house is today managed by the National Trust and the Rothschild family. It is a glorious trove of 18th-century art and furniture, Sèvres porcelain and other treasures reflecting the taste of its first owner.

Waddesdon Manor is located near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. The postcode is HP18 0JH and the telephone number is 01296 653226. Please visit for more details.

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