‘The Writing on the Wall’, a watercolour by Solomon Alexander Hart RA (1806-1881) was purchased by the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum in Tennants Auctioneers’ Country House Sale on 27th April. Solomon Alexander Hart was the first Jewish member of the Royal Academy, and the pre-eminent Jewish artist of his day.
The Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, located in London’s St John’s Wood, exhibits the work and tells the story of émigré artists in London. Ben Uri’s Chairman, David Glasser said of the purchase: ‘We are very excited to have acquired one of the earliest paintings of a synagogue interior ever created in British visual arts history. We place it from 1837-1838, most likely of the Polish Synagogue then sighted in Gun Yard off Houndsditch in the East End of London. Solomon Hart was the first Jewish artists to become a RA in 1840 and opened the door for many Jewish and immigrant artists to follow. This acquisition is a perfect example of the benefit to our museum of de-accessioning works rarely if ever seen and qualitatively improving the collection with works which are clearly preeminent in their field.’