This lamp, dating from 1709, is the oldest example of an English-made Hanukah lamp. Hanukah is the Jewish winter festival of light, celebrating the spiritual survival of the Jewish people under the Syrian Greeks in 165 BCE. On each night of the eight day festival, Jewish people light a candle on their Hanukah lamp, so that all eight are lit by the last night.
The lamp was made for Elias Lindo on the occasion of his marriage, by the silversmith John Ruslen. It shows the scene of the prophet Elijah fed by ravens (1 Kings, 17:6) in a play on Elias’s Hebrew name. Lindo was the son of Isaac Lindo, a Sephardi Jew of Spanish and Portuguese orgin, who had fled the Inquisition in the Canary Isles and settled in London in 1670. The Sephardi community was the first group of Jewish settlers to build a community in England following the readmission in 1656.
The lamp has perfect provenance, having been passed down the Lindo family for generations until its eventual loan to the museum 1932. It was finally purchased by the museum in 2010.