Between Two Faiths

1852 portrait of Benjamin Disraeli

Few figures of the Victorian age were as enigmatic as Benjamin Disraeli. A Jew, a Christian, an author, a politician; Disraeli defied classification and expectation in every aspect of his life.

Explore Disraeli’s Jewish roots and his childhood baptism, anti-Semitic public reception, as well as how he created a Jewish visual identity towards the end of his life in this new exhibition. You can see items from the Hughenden collection, seldom displayed, including texts on Jewish history, an original Punch cartoon and Disraeli’s seals depicting his coat of arms.

A noble Jewish lineage

The man who would become the first and only Jewish Prime Minister, came from a family of Jewish immigrants. Disraeli often spoke amongst his peers of a noble lineage which traced back to the expulsion of Sephardic Jews from Spain in 1492.

Disraeli embraced this image as an outsider, and was proud of his religious heritage, despite the often cruel commentary on his Jewish ancestry.

Between Two Faiths

Fascinated by his Jewish background and respectful of his Christianity, Disraeli lived a life positioned between two faiths. He saw the two as intertwined:

'Christianity is incomprehensible without Judaism as Judaism is incomplete without Christianity’  Benjamin Disraeli, 1845

As part of Hughenden’s connection with the Jewish Country House Partnership, the exhibition celebrates the European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage.

Between Two Faiths runs from Sat 25 Jan until 26 June 2020 in the ground floor of the Manor. Normal admission applies.