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The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1600-1800

Kalman A. Burnim

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, i660-1800* KALMAN A. BURNIM Since i960 I have been engaged, with Professor Philip H. Highfill, Jr of the George Washington University and Professor Edward A. Langhans of the Univer? sity of Hawaii, in researching, writing and publishing A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800 (hereafter referred to as BDA). The purpose has been to provide biographical data on anyone who was a member of a theatrical or musical com? pany, an occasional performer, or a patentee or servant of a patent theatre, opera house, amphitheatre, pleasure garden, theatrical tavern, music room, fair booth, or other place of public entertainment in London and its immediate environs, between the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and the end of the 1799-1800 theatrical season. Sixteen volumes, covering the letters A-Z, have now been pub? lished by the Southern Illinois University Press (with the assistance of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, and other funding organizations), completing a project that has occupied the three of us over a total of some one hundred man-years. In the course of researching and writing the BDA, I came to realize that a small but significant number of those who became professional singers and musicians in London during the 18th century had roots in the City and in parts of what came to be known as the East End, and that some of these had been trained in the choir of the Great Synagogue, Duke's Place. The most famous of these were, of course, John Braham and his uncle Michael Leoni (Myer Lyon). But what began as an investigation of the musical establishment at the Great Synagogue and its relationship to the performing arts in London, soon expanded into a study of the Jewish presence in the performing arts, conducted in the hope of determin? ing what factors affecting Jewish life in London may have contributed to that presence. I attempted to focus on activities in the synagogues, the support and cultivation of singers and musicians, and the possible influence of liturgical prac? tices. Unfortunately, any initial optimism proved misplaced, because of the dearth of contemporary documents containing specific information about these types of activities. But I am now able to provide a census and a modest biographical dictionary of any performers and other participants who could be identified (in * Paper presented to the Society on 24 September 1992. 65</page><page sequence="2">Kaiman A. Burnim some cases indecisively) as Jews. Many of those involved were also active in other professions, in the arts and humanities, the sciences, commerce and industry. In a sense, I am exploring the demography and social history of a vibrant segment of east London. What I offer here are some observations and information about work in progress. In his seminal study, 'Jews and the English Stage, 1667-1850', Alfred Rubens identified about thirty Jewish people who were performers on the London stage during the period specified, including Hannah Norsa, the Isaacs and Jacobs famil? ies, Maria Bland, Michael Leoni and John Braham.1 Since I began to concentrate on my own area of research, I have been able to identify about 200 Jews (or persons of Jewish extraction) who were professional performers, musicians, enter? tainers, managers or theatrical personnel in London from 1660 to the end of the 18th century.2 During the 18th century, Jewish performing artists, especially musicians and singers, emigrated from Spain, Portugal and Italy (and some from Germany and Austria) to settle in London. As with other immigrants, these people often arrived with their extended families, or later gathered them to live in the same areas. So an extensive network of family and professional relationships permeates the social structure of life in east London during this period, and much of that life centered around the synagogues. About 85 per cent of the more than 210 persons appearing on the list compiled to date are noted in our BDA, and we have information in our files on many others who did not, for one reason or another, qualify for inclusion. As my research deepens, I am confident that many of those already appearing in the BDA will be identified as Jews. Marian Hannah Winter, the dance historian, postulated that most of the great dynasties of dancers and circus performers in Europe during the 18th century were Jewish, and they were prepared to change their names and religion, if necessary, to conform to local municipal strictures.3 Many of these also performed in London, some for only a season or so, but others settled for longer periods. Todd M. Endelman wrote, in The Jews of Georgian England, that 'the accultura? tion and integration of Anglo-Jewry advanced at a pace unmatched by any other Jewish community in the West at such an early period, with the exception of the tiny communities in the West Indies and North America.' He attributes that integration largely to 'the high degree of tolerance prevailing in England'.4 But such tolerance had not always existed, nor did English society lack its share of anti-Semitic beliefs and actions. Because the early history of the Jews in post Resettlement England is well known,51 shall mention only those factors (pointed out especially by Professors Endelman and Newman) which have some particular bearing on the Jewish presence on the 18th-century London stage. In 1660 there were about 35 Jewish families in London, and by 1684 about 90. Over the next century the Jewish population expanded into the thousands, and there were occasional attempts to suppress Jewish activity in domestic and 66</page><page sequence="3">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 international trade. For example, the City guilds required that a tradesman take a Christian oath prior to receiving the freedom of the City, effectively ensuring that no Jewish merchant could carry on public business there. In order to ensure that Jews could not evade the prohibition by converting, in 1785 the Court of Aldermen ordered that even baptized Jews could not be admitted.6 This prohibi? tion was imposed some 31 years after the repeal of the enacted 'Jew Bill', which would have accorded to naturalized Jews, for the most part, the same civil rights enjoyed by other British citizens. The City Corporation's prohibition against Jews enjoying the freedom of London lasted until 1831. Degrees at Oxford and Cam? bridge remained unawardable to Jews until late in the 19th century, but conven? tional university education became possible after 1827, by the founding of Univer? sity College London through the efforts of non-Anglicans, including Isaac Lyon Goldsmid. By 1730 the Jewish population of England was about 6000, by the 1750s some 8000. Most estimates place it by 1791 at about 12,000, about 11,000 of whom lived in London. One contemporary observer claimed that there were more than 20,000 Jews in all. In his Satirical View of London, of 1804, John Corry wrote: 'A very distinct class of inhabitants of London consists of Jews. It is computed that they amount to twenty thousand; and though a few are respectable characters, the majority are notorious sharpers'. By 1830 there were about 30,000 Jews in England, most of them concentrated in the capital.7 Newman and Endelman detail a lifestyle of the Anglo-Jewish elite that was not very different from that of other wealthy Englishmen. They went to the theatre and opera, had their portraits painted by leading artists, gave lavish parties, and visited fashionable holiday venues. Hirschel Levin, rabbi of the Great Synagogue, criticized the manner in which Jews spent their leisure-time playing cards, fre? quenting coffee houses and generally aping the habits of the non-Jews around them. He complained that Jews regarded Christmas puddings as of more import? ance than Pesach matzot. In 1761 Dr Ralph Sch?mberg (1714-92), who was physician to the great actor-manager David Garrick, wrote from Bath about the many Jews taking the water there. Brighton became especially popular, and one upper-class visitor in 1819 sneered: 'What a multitude of people we have here, Jews, haberdashers, and money-lenders without number, a sort of Marine Cheap side, Mr Solomons, Mrs Levis, and all the Miss Abrahams; in short, Hook Noses, Mosaical Whiskers, and the whole tribe of Benjamin occupy every shop, every donkey-cart, and every seat in Box, Pit, and Gallery.'8 In the theatrical world the common formulae for stereotyping Jews persisted during the 18th century. The playwright Richard Cumberland depicted the social stigma attached to Jews in general in his imaginary letter to the press, supposedly written by one Abraham Abrahams, who could not take his wife to the theatre without having abuse heaped on them: "Smoke the Jew! Smoke the cunning little Isaac!" "Throw him over" .. . "Out with Shylock" ... and on through the 67</page><page sequence="4">Kaiman A. Burnim whole gallery, till I am forced to retire out of the theatre, amongst hootings and hissings, with a shower of rotten apples and chewed oranges vollied at my head ... .'9 Hogarth's second plate in the series entitled The Harlot's Progress (1731) - sometimes called 'The Quarrel with her Jew Protector' - depicts a prostitute surprised with another man by the unexpected arrival of the wealthy Jew who keeps her. Capitalizing on the popularity of the Hogarth series, Theophilus Cibber devised a pantomime entitled The Harlot's Progress, in which Kitty, having been discovered in her dalliance by Beau Mordecai, sings: Farewell, good Mr. Jew; How I hate your tawny face; I'll have no more to do With you or any of your race. The Harlot's Progress premiered at Drury Lane on 31 March 1733 and was played often that season, and thereafter at Bartholomew Fair and Sadler's Wells. Jewish characters continued to appear in contemporary plays. Moses, in The School for Scandal (the premiere of which took place at Drury Lane Theatre on 8 May 1777), was first played on the stage by Robert Baddeley, who also created the specialty solo interludes entitled^ Specimen of Jewish Education (Drury Lane, 17 April 1780) andv4 Specimen of Jewish Courtship (Drury Lane, 23 April 1787), in which he presented the comic character of Shadrach Moses. The Jewish actor Ralph Wewitzer was described by the playwright George Colman junior as 'the best representative of comic Jews and foreigners that perhaps ever was or will be'.10 The Jewish roles in Cumberland's so-called 'sympathetic' comedy, The Jew, first acted at Drury Lane on 8 May 1794, were created by non-Jewish actors. The title-role of Sheva, played by John Bannister, was portrayed grotesquely as a 'squalid self-abasing' miser who lives on potato skins. But Sheva performs an act of charity and ends up as a benevolent character. Cumberland's play may have been intended to improve public opinion about Jews; but, as Gerald Reitlinger wrote, the audience may have been 'dewy-eyed over the triumph of innocent young love, but they could not have gone home convinced about Sheva. It is not surprising - though Cumberland himself found it so - that no tributes whatever came from the English-Jewish community'.11 At Bath in 1796, on the other hand, the Peter (or Charles) Galindo who acted in The Jew was indeed a Jew, and a fencing master who advertised his Fencing Academy in Shannon Court, off Corn Street, Bristol. He also acted at Bath and Bristol between 1793 and 1799. In 1801, in Dublin, he married the Irish actress Catherine Gough. Back at the Bath theatre in 1802, Galindo met the great actress Sarah Siddons and subsequently had an affair with her.12 Unlike the stereotyped rich merchant in Hogarth's painting, most of Anglo Jewry in Georgian Britain was 'desperately poor'.13 Many Jews did alas turn to 68</page><page sequence="5">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 crime (but in no greater percentage than other sectors of the population), and Jews as a class were branded as traders in stolen goods. In fact the occupations that poor Jews usually turned to were those which required low start-up costs and little knowledge of English. These were mainly the street trades, including peddling such things as cheap jewellery, pencils, buckles and buttons, and buying and selling old clothes.14 Most of the normal avenues of advancement - higher education for the professions or apprenticeship-training for trades and crafts - were blocked. During the last fifty years of the 18th century, a surprisingly large number of Jews - actually between 3 and 31 per cent of those living in London - turned to singing, playing music, dancing, acting and other performance-related endeavours for their livelihood. The first Jewish performer known to appear on the London stage was Mrs Manuell (d. 1730), mentioned by Samuel Pepys who noted in his diary on 12 August 1667 that he had 'gone to Mrs ManuelPs the Jews wife, formerly a player', and had been pleased with her singing. Pepys was frequently in company where Mrs Manuell was present and usually commented on her singing ability. On 23 March 1668 he and his friends took a barge trip up the Thames: 'a very fine day, and all the way sang; and Mrs Manuel sings very finely, and is a mighty discreet, sober-carriaged woman, that both my wife and I are mightily taken with her, and sings well, and without importunity or the con? trary'. Pepys, however, said nothing further about her work as a player, and we have found no evidence of her having performed in the theatre (see BDA X, 74). Richard Barnett speculated that Mrs ManuelPs husband was Isaac Manuell Lopes Pereira (d. 1705), from Portugal, the son of David Lopes Pereira, who had escaped the Inquisition.15 Born in 1633 at Rouen, Isaac was in London by 1655, ana&lt; by 1660 lived in Creechurch Lane. He married Mrs Manuell (whose first name was Leah) just before they met Pepys in 1667. Isaac Lopes Pereira became a wealthy stockbroker and was buried in the Sephardi cemetery on 12 February 1705. Leah Manuell was buried on 22 February 1730. It should be noted that during the 1700s members of the Lopes and Pereira families also married into the Brandon and Pinto families, in which many practitioners of the theatrical and musical professions were also to be found.16 Indeed, among the Jews who worked as 'house servants' to the theatres, the most interesting perhaps were the Brandons, one of the oldest Anglo-Jewish families.17 Members of the family, having been banished from their native Portu? gal, lived in Holland for a while and came to England from 1635. By *he IO&gt;th century they were a numerous clan, their names frequently appearing in syn? agogue records. They intermarried with other prominent Sephardi families, such as Mendez, Furtado, Nunes and Disraeli.18 In the 19th century they became distinguished in the arts, sciences, politics, commerce, law and charitable endeav? ours. Among them were the architects Joshua Arthur Brandon (1822-47) and his brother John Raphael Brandon (1817-77), the latter being responsible for a number of churches in London, including St Peter, Great Windmill Street. A 69</page><page sequence="6">Kaiman A. Burnim certain Joseph Brandon, born in 1829, married the well-known actress Helen Barry, who performed in Dion Boucicault's plays and died in America in 1906. In 1735 one Isaac Pinto Brandon married Ester Pinto at Bevis Marks Synagogue; and in August 1745 Ester Pinto Brandon, presumably the same woman, was naturalized in Jamaica. Other members of the Brandon family, including Jacob, Joshua Israel and Raphael, were also naturalized about that time in London or Jamaica.19 No doubt, the Martha Brandon (i727?-98) who for many years supervised the fruit concession at Covent Garden Theatre, and sold playbooks and songbooks, dying in 1798 in her 71st year, was related to the Sephardi family. She was the wife of Josiah John Brandon, occupation unknown, who lived in the parish of Covent Garden. Early in their marriage they seem to have converted to Christian? ity, or at least to have pretended to do so, for the name of their son, James William Brandon (1754-1825) (Plate 1) was entered in the baptism register of St Paul, Covent Garden, on 17 June 1754. (Synagogues began to keep registers of births by the middle of the 18th century, but not all Jewish births were listed in them. In 1747-8 a General Register of Birth was established for persons not baptized in the Established Church, but again not all Jewish children were noted in it. In fact, some Jewish parents had their children entered in local parish registers in order to have a record of their birth.) James William Brandon became a house servant at Covent Garden Theatre by 1770, and remained employed there for 55 years. He supervised housekeeping and maintenance staff, and by 1782 had also taken on the influential position of box bookkeeper, a situation that kept him in close contact with the more affluent frequenters of the theatre. Very popular with the public, Brandon enjoyed espe? cially high receipts on his benefit nights. The Dramatic Censor (1800) described the evening of 29 May 1800 Tor the benefit of Mr Brandon, whose assiduities and attentions to the functions of his office, attracted a very numerous, a very splendid and fashionable audience. The side and dress boxes boasted some of the loveliest and most elegant ladies that ever graced a public assembly with their presence.' On one occasion Brandon was almost a professional casualty; for following the 'Old Price Riots' at Covent Garden Theatre in the autumn of 1809, ne brought charges against one of the leaders, Henry Clifford. The case Brandon v. Clifford came to trial on 5 December 1809, but judgement was given against Brandon. Those disturbances at Covent Garden were caused by the proprietors raising the price of seats by one shilling and reserving twenty-six boxes for the use of aristo? cratic subscribers. In the aftermath the manager John Philip Kemble was required to make an apology from the stage for having employed a private police force, composed mainly of professional Jewish pugilists, who tried to maintain order by the use of cudgels and whips. This was probably the same James Brandon who in 1778 was taken into the Emulation Lodge of Freemasonry, which had Jewish members.20 He and his wife 70</page><page sequence="7">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 Plate 1 James William Brandon, artist unknown. (Harvard Theatre collection.) 71</page><page sequence="8">Kaiman A. Barnim Lucinda Mallinson, who was probably the daughter of the Bath performers Mr and Mrs Joseph Mallinson, had at least four children, three of whose names were recorded in the registers at St Paul, Covent Garden: James William Brandon, born 21 October 1800 (died 3 September 1828); Charlotte Harris Brandon, born 7 April 1802; Mary Ann Brandon, born 27 November 1809; and another child, whose name is unknown. The father died in 1825, at his house in Upper Maryle bone Street, leaving his widow and four children 'unprovided for'. His place of burial has not yet been identified. His brother, John Brandon (/?. 1789-1813), worked in the treasury office of Covent Garden Theatre between 1789 and 1813 (see BDA II, 308). Not until the 19th century did Jewish entrepreneurs emerge in significant num? bers as managers, directors and proprietors of theatrical and musical enterprises.21 But in the 18th century several 'projectors' established and operated successful enterprises in London. Solomon Rietti (d. 1758), who lived in the parish of St Catherine Cree and was a member of Bevis Marks Synagogue, laid out and founded Ranelagh Gardens in 1742. His relationships indicate how closely enmeshed the Sephardic community of London seems to have been at that time. His wife was Gracia de Elihezer Moravia, whom he married at Bevis Marks on 8 Kislev 5493 (26 November 1732). In the marriage register he is named as Selomoh Vita de Ishac Rietti. Among his relatives were Giacobbe 'Nosey' Cervetto and his son James, both prominent violoncellists in the theatres (about whom more later), and George Basevi (1794-1845) the architect, who was first cousin to Benjamin Disraeli. Members of the Rietti family whose names are recorded in the Bevis Marks marriage abstracts include: no. 719, Abraham Vita de Judah Rietti and Sarah de Jacob Cardoso, 3 Kislev 5507 (16 November 1746); no. 856, Aaron de Abraham Gomez da Costa and Miryam de Solomon Rietti, 8 Elul 5517 (24 August 1757); no. 908, Aser de Isaac Pacifico and Bella de Moseh Rietti, 1 Sivan 5521 (3 June 1761); and no. 1001, Naftaly di Solomon Bassevy and Ribca de Abraham Haim Rietti, 2 Sivan 5528 (18 May 1768).22 Thomas Rosoman (d. 1782) began his career as a harlequin-dancer in a Bartho? lomew Fair booth, where his wife also performed. After an undistinguished career in the minor theatres and fairs, Rosoman became proprietor, on 4 February 1746, with Peter Hough, of Sadler's Wells. It was Rosoman who was in the main responsible for the Sadler's Wells pleasure garden's activities until 1771, and it enjoyed expansion and prosperity because of his generous spirit and good sales? manship. Along with tumbling, rope-dancing and juggling, he offered presenta? tions of operas and pantomimes, and then burlettas. At some point he had a partner named De Castro (evidently not the comedian Jacob - the synagogue records include numerous De Castros). In 1771 Rosoman sold his share in the Wells to the comedian Thomas King for ?9000 and retired to his estate in Hampton, not far from Garrick's villa. He also had a house in Islington, near Sadler's Wells, and in 1756 he developed a row of houses on the west side of old 72</page><page sequence="9">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 Bridewell Walk, originally named by him Rosoman's Row, and officially named Rosoman Street in 1774. He died in 1782, worth about ?60,000, and in his will signed on 16 April 1779 at Hampton, Rosoman left his estate to his wife Mary (who had also been a performer at the fairs) and to his three young children, Thomas, Maria and Sarah Susannah. It has been asserted that Thomas Harris (d. 1820) - the co-patentee and controversial manager of Covent Garden Theatre between 1767 and 1820 - was Jewish, but we have found no supporting evidence, and suspect that this might be a crude insult, based on his reputation as a difficult and grasping businessman. Yet another class of entrepreneurs were the showmen and exhibitors, including Jewish conjurors such as Philip Breslaw (1726-1803), Philip Jonas (fl. 1767-86) and Jacob Meyer Philadelphia (b. 1735), who have notices in the BD A and are discussed by Mr Rubens in 'Jews on the English Stage'. Samuel Jacob Chaim De Falk (1710-83), who was known as the Ba'al Shem of London and who established a cabbalistic laboratory on London Bridge, is the subject of an histor? ical novel to be published by Mrs Irene Roth, widow of Cecil Roth, and one of his descendants. She informs me that a line of Falk's descendants anglicized their name from Kallish to Collins, and produced theatrical luminaries such as Lala Collins and her daughter Josephine Collins (Lady Innes Kerr), and the Drury Lane manager Henry Collins. The equestrian impresario Philip Asdey (1742-1814) had no Jewish links, it seems, but he employed Jewish performers at his Amphitheatre in St George's Fields, across Westminster Bridge, in numbers sufficient for them to be dubbed 'Astley's Jews'. They included performers such as the acrobat Signor Jacob, who in September 1777 was in an exhibition of tumbling called 'Egyptian Pyramids'; and Jacob de Castro (1758-1824), who was born in Houndsditch and educated in Bevis Marks Synagogue, where his father David de Castro (d. 1784) was a teacher and 'Head Reader' for forty-one years. Jacob de Castro revealed his talent in Purim plays, and although he had been intended for a career as a rabbi, soon became enamoured of the stage. He made his professional debut on 27 April 1776 at Covent Garden Theatre, as Tom in The Irish Widow. He later spent thirty-eight years in the service of Asdey's hippodramas, which were over-blown harlequinades, and quickly concocted musical sketches. In 1824 he published his Memoirs.23 Dozens of De Castros were members of Bevis Marks, including the great physician Jacob de Castro Sarmento (d. 1803) and Daniel Jacob de Castro (1747-1821), who was for thirty-six years 'Chancellor of the Spanish and Portu? guese' congregation.24 Another performer who spent part of her career as an 'Astley Jew' was Maria Bland (1770-1838) (Plate 2). The record of her early life is confused, but there are numerous references to her having been Jewish. Some early memoirs state that she had been born Ida Romani, and was dubbed 'Romanzini' when she appeared as a child performer in London. But according to a manuscript in the 73</page><page sequence="10">Kaiman A. Burnim Plate 2 Maria Teresia Bland, as Madam Beigarde in Monsieur Tonson by Samuel De Wilde. (Harvard Theatre Collection.) 74</page><page sequence="11">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 Garrick Club, she had been born at Caen in Normandy on 29 September 1770, and a few days later was baptized at the Catholic Church of Notre Dame in that place as Maria Teresia Catherine Tersi, the daughter of a strolling musician from Italy named Alexander Tersi (/?. 1770-80) and of his wife Catherine Zeli, a Jewess from Florence. Both parents performed in London. When Catherine Zeli Tersi made her will on 13 September 1798 she gave her name as Catherine Romanzini; evidently the family had changed its name on coming to England. Announced as a 'young Italian lady, about four years old', Maria Theresia made her first appearance of record in England on 10 April 1773 at Bristow. Later that year she sang at Sadler's Wells, perched on a table so that the audience could see her. She also performed at Marylebone Gardens, at displays of magic by the Jewish conjuror Philip Breslaw. In 1781, at the age of eleven, Maria Teresia sang in the King's Theatre operas, and despite her unattractive physical attributes she established a reputation over the years as 'one of the sweetest singers, and, as a singer one of the best comic actresses that ever walked the boards'. She married - at St Paul's, Covent Garden - the actor George Bland (d. 1753), who subsequently abandoned her to leave for America, where he expired drunk while acting on a stage in Kentucky. Despite the fact that Maria Bland had evidently been baptized, her plump figure, dark pock-marked face and hairy chin often prompted unkind remarks about her Jewish background. A somewhat preposterous story - but perhaps no more absurd than that of her baptism - was told of her in Liverpool in the summer of 1789, when, hoping for a good benefit and knowing the city held a great number of Catholics, 'she regularly displayed her devotion in their chapels'. When a report circulated that she was indeed Jewish, she sat sewing by her window every Saturday afternoon and ordered her mother to buy a live pig 'which within hearing was told was meant for dinner'.25 Although she had enjoyed great success on the stage, she spent her later years suffering a severe nervous disorder - described as a sort of 'mental imbecility' - and was nearly incarcerated in an insane asylum in Salisbury. A public subscription on her behalf in 1824, however, raised ?800 and allowed her to live the next twelve years of her life in some comfort in a house at Westminster.26 Also to be mentioned as some of 'Astley's Jews' were the Cabanel family of dancers, singers and machinists, the Delpinis, the Ducrows and the Saunders - all dancers, acrobats and equestrians - who are written up in some detail in the BDA (see also the appendix to this article). At least forty or fifty of the musicians who played on the professional theatre or concert stages in London during the last half of the 18th century came from east London and were either Jewish or of Jewish extraction. Many had begun their careers on the Continent. Johann Peter Salomon (1745-1815) was born of Jewish parents in Bonn, but according to his early biographer was baptized at birth. His father was Philipp Salomon (Solomon?), an oboist in the Court band 75</page><page sequence="12">Kaiman A. Barnim Plate 3 Giacobbe Cervetto, artist unknown. of the Elector of Cologne, at the theatre in Bonn. After a career on the Continent, Johann made his first appearance at Covent Garden on 23 March 1781, playing a violin concerto and leading the band. Salomon became a foremost musical artist, and in 1786 established a series of concerts at the Hanover Square Rooms which drew excellent musicians and large crowds. Some of the most significant musical events of the 18th century in Britain occurred there, including the playing of Haydn's 'London' symphonies. For some years he lived at 12 Great Pulteney Street, and it was there that Haydn stayed with him for about a year. Salomon died at his home, 70 Newman Street, in 1815 and was buried in the South Cloister of Westminster Abbey. In his obituary in the Gentleman 's Magazine in 1815 it was reported that his 'classical attainments were considerable, and to these he added ... four living languages, which he wrote and spoke with astonishing correctness and fluency'.27 The previously mentioned Giacobbe Cervetto (1682-1783), a Venetian Jew whose Hebrew name was Basevi, was a leading violoncellist in the Drury Lane band for many years (Plate 3). He was the uncle of Naphtali Basevi, a president of the Board of Deputies and maternal grandfather of Disraeli. Cervetto was also related to Solomon Rietti, entrepreneur of Ranelagh Gardens who has also been discussed above. Cervetto's prominent nose became a regular butt of humour for the upper gallery at Drury Lane, whose habitues frequendy hailed him as 'Nosey'. David Garrick came to the musician's defence in a prologue he delivered on 20 October 1753: 76</page><page sequence="13">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 In like extremes your laughing Humour flows; Have ye not roared from Pit to upper Rows, And all the Jest was - what? - a Fiddler's Nose. Pursue your Mirth; each Night this Joke grows stronger, For as you fret the Man, his Nose looks longer. The playwright and journalist Arthur Murphy, in the Gray's Inn Journal for 27 October 1753, chastized the public for ridiculing the violoncellist, stating that despite Cervetto's long nose 'no feature of his Mind is out of Proportion, unless it be that his good Qualities are extraordinary'. 'Nosey' Cervetto died at Friburg's Snuff Shop in the Haymarket at the age of 101. As Albert Hyamson once wrote, it is doubtful whether Giacobbe Cervetto 'had ever passed through the doors of Bevis Marks'.28 He expressed in his will a desire to be buried 'according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England', and left a substantial fortune to his son, James Cervetto (1749-1837), who was also a leading violoncellist in various London concert rooms, where he was regarded as a masterful performer. Another interesting soloist was Thomas Pinto (1714-1783), who advertised eye-salve 'in the intervals of taking his violin onto the concert platform' at Bath. In the early part of his career he was a lazy musician who affected gentlemanly airs, kept a horse, and was 'always with a switch in his hand instead of a fiddle? stick'.29 But he matured into a diligent musician, who succeeded Giardini as leader of the band for the Italian opera at the King's Theatre. He also appeared regularly as a violin soloist in festival performances in the provinces and at the Oxford Music Room; and he was first violinist at Marylebone Gardens. His first wife, Sybilla Gronaman, sang under the stage name of'Mrs Sybilla' (/?. 1742-8), and his second wife, Charlotte, nee Brent (d. 1802), was a vastly popular singer in oratorios and operas. Others of the Pinto family who are relevant here were the musicians Charles Pinto and George Frederick Pinto (1785-1806). The latter was the son of the actress Julia Pinto (/?. 1779-1805), who married Samuel Sanders, probably one of the large Saunders family of equestrians and dancers that performed during the 1780s and 1790s at Astley's Amphitheatre in St George's Fields (see BDA XIII, 211-17).30 Many Pintos appear in the surviving synagogue records. A letter dated 7 June 1758 from the officers of Bevis Marks to the directors of the Shearith Israel Synagogue in New York recommends Joseph Jesurun Pinto for the position of Hazan. His name was still listed in the membership of Bevis Marks in 1763, but he did eventually voyage to New York, where on 22 January 1766 he became naturalized as a British citizen, and later issued the first printed translations of the Sephardi Prayer Book.31 The only musician named Cohen that I have come across is also one of the least-known performers of his day. Referred to as the 'celebrated' Mr Cohen, he played a concert on the French horn at Marylebone Gardens on 10 September 1770, being announced as 'musician to the Stadtholder, being the first time of his performing since his arrival in England'. There appears to be no further record of the 'celebrated' Mr Cohen's performances in London. Among other 77</page><page sequence="14">Kaiman A. Barnim prominent and possibly Jewish musicians and composers were Matthew Dubourg (1703-67), Dr John Abraham Fisher (1744-1806), Nicola Francesco Hyam (c. 1769-1829), Moridt Lev (b. 1777?), George Noelli (1727-89, sometimes referred to as Noel), his father John Noelli, Bernhard Heinrich Romberg (1767-1841), Nicholas Ximenes (/?. 1772-3), and the Schram family: Christopher (/?. 1787 94), Martin (/?. 1794), Michael and Samuel (fl. 1794).32 Some Jewish musicians were also freemasons: John Shaftesley20 includes Andrew Barnett (b. 1733) of Tyler Street, Carnaby Market, admitted to Hiram's Lodge in 1797; Moses Davis admitted to Caledonian Lodge in 1785; John Simon Duplessis, of 45 Burr Street, admitted to Felicity Lodge in 1812 (a Lewis Duplessis is noted in the BDA); Abraham Fisher admitted to Shakespeare Lodge in 1777; Moridt Lev (b. 1777?) admitted to Hiram's Lodge in 1802; and Michael Schram, of Edgware Road, admitted to Vacation, Star and Garter Lodge, Pad dington, in 1790. Additionally, Henry Leon (b. 1765), of Houndsditch, was admit? ted to Hiram's Lodge. Perhaps Leon was related to the Lyon family of musicians who are noted in the BDA IX, 389-93. Charles Dibdin (1745-1814), the successful singer, composer and manager, was not Jewish, but his connection to the Jewish community is an interesting one. In 1797 the directors of the Western Synagogue, at Denmark Court in the Strand, sought larger premises. In July of that year they successfully completed negoti? ations with Charles Dibdin for the lease of his first Sans Souci Theatre, which they converted into 'a handsome synagogue for Jews, many of whom reside in the neighbourhood'.33 The building stood opposite the Beaufort Buildings, at 411 the Strand, on the site of what is now the Strand Palace Hotel. A talent for music is one of the characteristics stereotypically attributed to Jews. In so far as it is true, it may have developed from a long history of listening to and singing synagogue music, which naturally enjoyed popularity in the 18th century. There may be some significance in the observation that of those in the performing arts in London in the 18th century that I have identified as Jews, about one-third were musicians and composers and many others were singers. There are numerous references to music in synagogues, but very few specific facts about the 'performances' or the 'performers'. Unfortunately, I have been unable to unearth any information about the training of the choirs, which reputedly were splendid. When the Great Synagogue in Duke's Place was reded icated on 29 August 1766, the ceremony included a performance of Handel's Coronation music. An account of synagogue music in the Annual Register of 28 July 1798, by a German visitor to the Great Synagogue, is not very helpful: 'The music and the voices were performed in the Eastern manner of strophe, anti strophe, and full chorus. The anthems were performed by the four brothers who sing there in a very superior style of modulation and harmony.' The traditional arrangement of singing in the 18th-century synagogue, both in England and on the Continent, prevailed at the Great Synagogue. Cecil Roth 78</page><page sequence="15">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 describes in his History of the Great Synagogue (1950) how the Hazan stood at the reading desk (on the bimah) flanked by two persons who assisted him in the choral portions of the service. On the right stood the Meshorrer (tenor), on the left the Bassista (bass): 'They were something between musical accompaniment and choir. It was their duty to extemporize choral pendants to the Hazan\ impro? visations.' On special occasions, such as the Day of Atonement, the Hazan was assisted also by a choir. The Hazan at the Great Synagogue during most of the last half of the 18th century was Isak Polak, but for a period he was upstaged by one of his assistants, Meir ben Judah, or Meir Lyon, better known by his Italianate stage name, Michael Leoni (d. 1797). Leoni (Plate 4) entered the service of the synagogue as a chorister in 1767, at a salary of ?40 per year. He was never, as some sources state, the Hazan at the Great Synagogue, but as the Meshorrer he created a 'veritable furore' by 'the sweetness of his voice'. When the musician Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, paid a visit to the Great Synagogue in 1770, he recorded in his diary: 'I was desirous to hear Mr. Leoni sing at the Jewish synagogue. I never before saw a Jewish congregation behave so decently. Indeed the place is so solemn, that it might strike an awe upon those who have any thought of God.' Wesley was accompanied on his visit by the Methodist minister Thomas Olivers, who was so impressed by Leoni's singing of the Yigdal - that moving Friday-night prayer - that he adapted the melody for his hymn, The God of Abraham Praise, and published it in 1781 as no. 601 in Hymns, Ancient and Modern, for use in church services. The adaptation enjoyed great success and was published in thirty editions within the next twenty years. It has been asserted that Leoni was the composer of that Yigdal melody, but the Revd H. Mayerowitsch states that there is 'no doubt whatsoever that the melody is of a much earlier date'.24 Michael Leoni achieved some fame also as an actor and singer on the London stage. The actor Jacob de Castro's comment in his Memoirs that Myer Lyon had been born in Frankfurt-on-Main is perhaps true, although it is more likely that his parents were from Germany and that he was born in London. Long before he began to sing as the Meshorrer in the Great Synagogue, he was advertised as 'Master Leoni' when introduced at Drury Lane, on 13 December 1760, as Kaliel in Garrick's new entertainment entitled The Enchanter; or, Love and Magic. The prompter Hopkins wrote in his diary that night: 'Master Leoni, a Jew, made his first appearance . . . and was received with great applause'. When he appeared as Carlos in the premiere of Sheridan's The Duenna, on 25 November 1775, he was hailed as a remarkable singer. Thereafter he enjoyed a sporadic career as principal singer in music dramas and operas at Covent Garden. In December 1783, at the Capel Street Theatre in Dublin, he and the composer Tomasso Giordani initiated what they called the 'English Opera House', a venture which bankrupted them after only seven months. One of his last performances in London was at Covent 79</page><page sequence="16">Kaiman A. Barnim Plate 4 Michael Leoni, as Don Carlos in The Duenna, artist unknown. (Harvard Theatre Collection.) 80</page><page sequence="17">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 Garden, as Carlos in The Duenna on 21 April 1787, the night on which his brilliant nephew and pupil John Braham made his professional debut singing two songs.35 The fact that Leoni sang professionally in some sacred oratorios displeased the Great Synagogue's authorities, but to his credit he remained an observing Jew and refused to perform in theatres on Friday nights and Jewish holidays. Evidently heavily in debt, he was obliged to accept an appointment as Cantor of the German Congregation of Kingston, Jamaica, in 1791, where he died in 1796. His tomb? stone in Kingston Cemetery describes him as 'principal reader of our congregation and one of the first singers of the age, died suddenly 6 November 1796'. Though Leoni had once been regarded as a tenor second only to Braham, he was described by one manager as 'such a slouch &amp; wretch of an actor, the audience could not bear him'. Perhaps that is why he was unsuccessful in finding permanent theatrical employment. At the height of his popularity, Leoni had entertained at country houses of the nobility, but he was sent off by John Williams in The Pin Basket to the Children ofThespis (1797) with these melancholy lines: Neglected, appalPd, sickly, poor and decay'd, See LEONI retiring in life's humble shade; 'Tis but a few years since the charms of his voice Made theatres echo, and thousands rejoice. The most famous Meshorrer of the Great Synagogue was John Braham (1776 1856), who by virtue of his long career and renowned talents, ranks as one of the greatest singers in the history of the English musical stage (Plate 5). Jane Porter somewhat hyperbolically called him in her diary 'without exception, the most glorious singer that ever appeared in the world'. His story, for the most part, is well told by Mollie Sands in Transactions XX (1964) and in our BDA (II 292-303), but what is not widely known is the extent to which his large family participated in the theatrical profession in the 18th century. According to his own testimony, Braham was born in London in 1777. Concerning his parentage, the weight of the evidence points to one John (probably earlier Johann) Abrahams, a German Jew who about the time of John's birth lived in Goodman's Fields. We know the name of his wife Esther from a sworn deposition she made to the Royal Society of Musicians in 1798, when she was a widow living in Wellclose Square. John Abrahams has been identified as Abraham 'Singer of Prosnitz', who also sang at the Great Synagogue and who died in 1779. He may also have worked at Drury Lane Theatre as a house servant in the 1770s, and he signed for the salaries of two of his children who were performing there. The Abrahams family would have experienced poverty as ghetto immigrants, at least until the children began their professional careers; but the story that young John was selling pencils in the street when he was discovered by Michael Leoni, who 'adopted him', is a romantic concoction. Michael Leoni was no doubt his 81</page><page sequence="18">Kaiman A. Burnim ' mp braham j u thv rii^wMv. .1 orlando. ' M'TllO* Hinnivf .N.? Plate 5 John Braham, as Orlando in 77^ Cabinet, engraving by J. Rogers, after J. Kennerly. (Harvard Theatre Collection.) 82</page><page sequence="19">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 uncle, the brother of John's mother Esther. All the Abrahams children turned to music, so they probably received their education from their father and their uncle Leoni and in the Great Synagogue, Duke's Place, where it is known that John Braham grew to love music. All ten of the known children of John and Esther Abrahams performed profes? sionally in London; and John, it seems, was not the first. Some thirteen years before he made his London debut, and about two years before he was born, his sister Harriet Abrams (1760-1825?), a prize pupil of Thomas Arne, had appeared on 28 October 1775 at Drury Lane in May Day; or, The Little Gipsy (Plate 6). Garrick had written to Colman a few weeks earlier: 'I am somewhat puzzled about introducing my little jew Girl - she is surprizing! I want to introduce her as the little Gipsy with 3 or 4 exquisite songs.' The prompter Hopkins wrote in his diary the night of Harriet's debut: 'This Musical Farce of one Act was wrote by Mr G on purpose to introduce Miss Abrams (a Jew) about 17 years old. She is very small, a Swarthy Complexion, has a very sweet Voice and a fine Shake ....' One newspaper reported: 'The number of Jews at the Theatre is incredible'. Presum? ably that was a reference to the number of Jews in the audience, but those on the stage would also increase as each of the ten Abrahams children took to the profession: Theodosia Abrams (1761-1849), Eliza Abrams (b. 1763?), Flora Abrams (/?. 1778) and Miss G. Abrams (/?. 1778-80) were singers. The brothers included the violinists Charles Abrams (/?. 1794) and William Abrams (/?. 1794), and David Abrahams (1775-1837), the violinist and singer who used the stage name of Bramah. The records of the Royal Society of Musicians, the theatre account books and the addresses appearing on various bills and other documents, link them as one large and impressively musical family of Askenazi Jews, over? shadowed by the fame achieved by one of them, John Braham, whose patron was the philanthropist Abraham Goldsmid. John Braham was - as Mr Rubens puts it - 'strongly Jewish', as he and the public were frequently reminded by theatre journalists and caricaturists. He claimed in 1826 to have become a Christian, but it is not known whether or not he was ever baptized. He did, however, marry Frances Bolton in an Anglican church in 1816, and his illegitimate and estranged son by Nancy Storace, William Spencer Harris Braham, became a canon of the Anglican Church. Probably the best known of the Jewish actresses after Pepys's Mrs Manuel was Hannah Norsa (d. 1785), reputedly the daughter of the keeper of the 'Punch Bowl' Tavern in Drury Lane. Horace Walpole wrote to Horace Mann on 1 August 1746 that Hannah was the daughter of a Jewish tavern keeper, while in his Memoirs of Samuel Foote (1805), William Cooke wrote that Hannah's father was a merchant. The name Norsa (sometime Morsa) appears in the records of Bevis Marks Syn? agogue as early as 1696. I believe her to have been the daughter of Ishac, son of Jehosuah Norca, who married Ester de Aharon de Caues on 17 January 1714. Hannah made her first appearance at Covent Garden Theatre on 16 December 83</page><page sequence="20">Kaiman A. Burnim Plate 6 Harriet Abrains, as Sylvia in Cymon, artist unknown. (Harvard Theatre Collection.) 84</page><page sequence="21">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 1732, as Polly in The Beggar's Opera, and that season played a number of roles in musical and comic afterpieces. She spent most of her career at Covent Garden, although she made sporadic appearances elsewhere, usually in characters from her standard repertoire or in entr'acte specialties (see BDA XI, 59-61). For example, on 19 May 1735 she sang Polly at York Buildings, where she shared a benefit with her brother, Master Norsa (/?. 1734-6), who had begun to perform in London as a child, at the James Street playhouse in 1734. He may have been Eleazor Hyam Norsa, who became an elder of Bevis Marks and donated ?5 6s 8d to that synagogue in 1763. A sister, called Miss Norsa Jr, danced at Covent Garden in April 1735. In 1736 Hannah Norsa gave up her theatrical career to come under the protection of Robert Walpole (1701-51), second earl of Orford, who promised to marry her as soon as his wife died. He ended up borrowing ?3000 from Hannah; and when he died in 1751 without marrying or repaying her, he left her destitute. The theatrical manager John Rich and his wife took her into their home, where she died in 1785. One of the largest and best-known Jewish theatrical dynasties had its roots in England towards the end of the 17th century with the dancers George Charles Luppino (1683-1725) and his wife Charlotte Mary Luppino (1688-1754), nee Estcourt. The family legends appear in Lupino Lane's How to Become a Comedian, in the Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo and in Who's Who in the Theatre, but these standard reference works and romantic accounts, for the most part, provide little information about the early English Luppinos. We have, I believe, managed to provide more reliable information about the family's 18th-century history in the BDA (IX, 383-6), but the full facts are too involved to relate here. The key figures include George Richard Estcourt Luppino (1710-87), who danced and designed scenery, and his wife Rosine Violante (d. 1789), a dancer who may have been Jewish and was the daughter of Italian rope dancers who arrived in England in the 1720s. Their son, Thomas Frederick Luppino (1749-1845) was also a scene designer and sometime dancer, who worked at Covent Garden Theatre between 1781 and 1804. By his wife Rosine, a member of the Simonet family of dancers, he had a daughter Georgina Luppino (1778-1832), who danced at Covent Garden and Sadler's Wells and married the dancer Henry Noble ifl. 1790-1814). Samuel George Luppino, the son of Thomas Frederick Luppino and Rosina Luppino, was a scene painter in London during the early decades of the 19th century; he married Marianna Bologna, reputedly the daughter of the dancer and pantomime-deviser Pietro Bologna (/?. 1786-1814). It seems to be through Samuel George Luppino's son, Thomas William Luppino, a professional organist, and then through Thomas William's son George Hook Luppino, that the line of descent leads to the numerous 19th- and 20th-century Lupinos (the spelling the family adopted). There is space here merely to mention some of the other actors: Miss Ambrose (/?. 1739-1813) , later Mrs Keif and then Mrs Egerton; Anna Davies (/?. 1786 85</page><page sequence="22">Kaiman A. Barnim 1836) , later Mrs Emmanuel Samuel; 'Jew' Davies (fl. 1795-1819); Samuel Redman (d. 1776); Samuel Russell (c. 1747-1808), his wife Mrs Russell (fl. 1772 90) and son Samuel Thomas Russell (c. 1770-1845); Samuel Simmons (c. 1773 1819); and the Wallack family (whose original name was Wolfe). Most of the Wallacks achieved fame in America in the 19th century. Special mention must be made of Edmund Kean (fl. 1788-9) and his brother Moses Kean (d. 1793), because of their possible relationship to the great 19th century actor Edmund Kean (1787-1833). The elder Edmund and his brother Moses, probably Jewish, had a third brother, Aaron Kean. All three were originally tailors, but Edmund and Moses went on the stage, while Aaron remained in trade. Edmund is supposed to have been the father of the great actor Edmund, who was the result of the indiscretions of Nancy, an itinerant actress who was the daughter of the monologist George Saville Carey (1743-1807).36 (M. J. Landa in The Jew in Drama, however, seems to have rejected convincingly the myth of Kean's Jewish heritage.) The name Levi or Levy surfaces only twice in our 18th-century-stage records: a Mr Levi played an unnamed character in a performance of The Macaroni Adven? turer at the Haymarket Theatre on 28 December 1778; and a Mr Levy served as doorkeeper to the Goodman's Fields Theatre, in the East End, in 1742 and 1743. I would like to conclude this survey with one of the most curious stories about Jewish proselytes: that of Mary Wells (1726-1829), who was characterized by one of her contemporaries as 'a noted and infamous woman' (Plates 7 and 8). Her three-volume autobiography, The Memoirs of the Life of Mrs Sumbel, late Wells (1811), is cavalier about facts and imaginative with anecdotes; it was written, according to one early reviewer, by a person whose mind was not 'always perfectly collected'. She was born Mary Davies in December 1762, one of the daughters of a woodcarver and gilder in Birmingham, who - according to Mary's Memoirs - was employed by Garrick to dig up the root of the celebrated mulberry tree at Stratford and fashion a box from it. After some early employment in Birmingham, York and elsewhere in the provinces, she was married in November 1778 at Shrewsbury - at the age of sixteen - to the actor Ezra Wells, to whose Romeo she had acted Juliet at Gloucester. Shortly after, he deserted her. Eventually Mary Wells made her way to the London stage, where on 4 Sep? tember 1781 at the Haymarket Theatre she was the original Cowslip in O'Keeffe and Arnold's The Agreeable Surprise. The nickname 'Cowslip' stuck with her many years, and sometimes she was called by the nickname 'Becky'. In the 1780s she acted a spectrum of musical, comic and tragic roles at the Haymarket, Drury Lane and Covent Garden. On 11 May 1786 she appeared for her benefit in Edward Topham's farce Small Talk, or, The Westminster Boy. Because it was an old and established rule among the students of Westminster School to prohibit any exhibition on the stage 86</page><page sequence="23">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 ^^^^^^^^^^^ Plate 7 Mary Wells, as Anne Lovely in A Bold Stroke for a Wife by Samuel De Wilde. (Courtesy of the Garrick Club.) 87</page><page sequence="24">Kaiman A. Burnim Plate 8 Mary Wells, as Betty Blackberry and John Edwin as Jemmy Jumps in The Farmer, engraving after O'Keefe. (Harvard Theatre Collection.) reflecting on their body, a large group of Westminster boys mustered and dis? persed throughout the boxes. When in the second act Mrs Wells appeared in the dress of a Westminster scholar, they made such an uproar that the piece was prevented from being heard. By the late 1780s Mrs Wells had developed a reputation for unconventional and sometimes eccentric behaviour, some of it caused by an incipient insanity accompanied by alcohol. In 1789 at Weymouth she caused a sensation by attempting to attract the attention of the King and Queen on the esplanade, and, in order to follow them on their way to Plymouth, she paid ten guineas a week for the hire of a yacht, 'a gun mounted on the deck, on which she sat astride, singing God save the King'. After affairs with a number of London's leading figures, including Frederic Reynolds, Home Tooke, the elder Colman and Sheri? dan, she lived with the sometime-playwright Edward Topham, by whom she had four children. After five years he left her miserably destitute. Much of her distress was caused by her indiscretion in backing the considerable debt of her brother-in law, Emanuel Samuel, husband of her sister Anna Davies, an actress who had made her debut at the Haymarket in July 1786. Mrs Wells bailed Samuel out of 88</page><page sequence="25">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 Fleet Prison, arranged an appointment for him in the West Indies, and financed his voyage. Plagued by her creditors, Mrs Wells spent several years either trying to avoid prison or actually in prison. It was in 1796, while in the Fleet Prison for debt, that she met a shady character named Joseph Haim Sumbel, a Moorish Jew and former secretary to the ambas? sador from Morocco. Sumbel had been confined to the Fleet for contempt of court, having refused to answer interrogatories concerning a large quantity of diamonds found in his possession. In October 1798, in the Fleet, Mary Wells married Sumbel in a wedding of 'Eastern grandeur', that was solemnized, as one reporter put it, with all 'Jewish magnificence'. In preparation, she had converted to Judaism, entering a ritual bath and adopting the name Leah. The Morning Post commented that 'Mrs Wells was always an odd genius, and her becoming a Jewess greatly satisfies her passion for eccentricity". The new Leah Sumbel wrote a public letter to that newspaper disclaiming any passion for eccentricity and affirming that it was ^studying and examining with great care and attention, the Old Testament, that has influenced my conduct'. After their release from the Fleet, the Sumbels settled at 79 Pall Mall, next door to the Duke of Gloucester. The new Mrs Leah Sumbel lived there in 'splendid misery', for Joseph Sumbel proved to be a man of vicious and irrational temperament who often locked her up without food and apparently kept a harem. One night he fired a pistol at her, but missed. A public exchange of charges and accusations followed, including a debate over whether or not Mary (Leah) was really a Jewess. According to certain reports in the press, the marriage had not been a legal Jewish ceremony, and she had broken the Sabbath and the dietary laws by running away from Sumbel in a carriage on a Saturday and by eating forbidden fruit - namely, pork grisken and rabbits\ Long and unresolved litigation ensued, but Sumbel soon died, in 1804, while visiting Altona, near Hamburg, and was buried in the local Jewish cemetery. Though Mary continued to call herself Mrs Sumbel, she renounced Judaism, writing: 'I am now once more received into the bosom of Christianity as a repent? ant sinner, fully confident, as such, that the Almighty will pardon my transgres? sions'. After a few more years on the London stage, she claimed on the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund in 1809, and by then, according to the actor-manager James Winston, was 'unquestionably insane'. After some twenty more years of misery and illnesses she died in 1829, aged sixty-seven, and was buried in the old churchyard of St Pancras.37 It is sometimes said that Jews tend to minimize their contributions to culture throughout the world. But the great American writer Mark Twain described the Jew as a being whose 'contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in this world, in all ages; and has done it with one of his hands tied behind him.' 89</page><page sequence="26">Kaiman A. Barnim This survey of the Jewish presence in the spheres of theatre and music in 18th century London may help us reach a better understanding of the Jewish contribu? tion to the cultural history of Britain. NOTES 1 Trans JHSE XXIV (1975) 151-70. 2 See Appendix. 3 See Marian Hannah Winter, The Pre Romantic Ballet (London 1974). 4 Todd M. Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England 1714-1820 (Philadelphia 1979). 5 Arthur Barnett, The Western Synagogue Through Two Centuries (1761-1961) (London 1961); Bevis Marks Records I (London 1940), II (Oxford 1949), III (JHSE 1973); Todd M. Endelman, Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History 1656-1945 (Indiana 1990); Moses Gaster, A History of the Ancient Synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews (London 1901); Aubrey Newman, 'Anglo-Jewry in the 18th Century: A Presidential Address', Trans JHSE XXVII (1982) 1-10; James Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (London 1956); Cecil Roth, The History of the Great Synagogue, London, 1690? 1940 (London 1950); and Cecil Roth, The History of the Jews in England (3rd ed. London 1964). 6 Endelman (see n. 4) 23. 7 For discussions of population estimates, Endelman (see n. 4) 171-2; Newman (see n. 4); and J. Rumney, 'Anglo-Jewry as seen through Foreign Eyes', Trans JHSE XIII (1936) 329-40. 8 The Letter-Bag of Lady Elizabeth Spencer-Stanhope I (London 1931) 342, cited by Endelman (see n. 4) 126. 9. The Observer, no. 38, cited by Endelman (see n. 4) 35. 10 George Colman (the Younger), Random Records (London 1830). 11 Gerald Reitlinger, 'Changed Face of English Jewry at the End of the Eighteenth Century', Trans JHSE XXII (1971) 31-41. 12 BDA XIV {sub Siddons). See also Mary Galindo's Letter to Mrs Siddons (1809). 13 Endelman (see n,. 4) 31. 14 Endelman (see n. 4) 179-81, and passim, 192-226. 15 Richard D. Barnett, 'Mr Pepys' Contacts with the Spanish and Portuguese Jews', Trans JHSE XXIX (1988) 27-33. 16 For example: David de Isaac Lopez Pereira and Simha de David Gomes Henriques, 2 Kislev 5454; and Isaque Periyra Branda and Ribca Lopes Perira, 23 Heshvan 5457 (Bevis Marks Records II, abstracts of Marriage Ketubot, nos 21 and 44). 17 Sir William Bull, A Short History of the Brandon Family (1422-ig^) (London 1935). 18 For examples see Bevis Marks Records II, nos 567 and 1516. Contributions made by the Brandon family to Bevis Marks included in 1763 Jacob Israel Brandon ?2, and Joshua Israel Brandon ?5 6s 8d; in that year Raphael and Gabriel Israel Brandon were also members. Burials included: Esther Brandon, Nov./Dec. 1693; Judith Brandon, March/April 1697; Abraham Brandon, 18 May 1714; unnamed son of Jacob Brandon, 2 Feb. 1731; and Rachel Gomes Brandon, 27 Feb. 1733. See R. D. Barnett, 'The Burial Register of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, London 1657-173 5', Misc. JHSE VI (1962) 1-72. 19 W. S. Samuel, 'List of Jewish Persons endenizened and naturalized 1609-1799', Trans JHSE XXII (1970) 22, and Misc. JHSE VII (1970) nos 278, 299, 361, 437, 449, 573 and 580. 20 J. M. Shaftesley, 'Jews in English Regular Freemasonry, 1717-1860', Trans JHSE XXV (1977) 150-209. 21 Some are noted in Rubens (see n. 1) 153. 22 Bevis Marks Records II. 23 The Memoirs off. De Castro, Comedien, ed. R. Humphreys (London 1824). 24 See A. Hyamson, 'Jewish Obituaries in the Gentleman 's Magazine1, Misc. JHSE IV (1942) 33 60, and Richard Barnett, 'Dr Jacob de Castro Sarmento and Sephardim in Medical Practice in 18th-century London', Trans JHSE XXVII (1982) 84-114. 25 Secret History of the Green Rooms (1795). 26 BDA II, 162-9. 27 Hyamson (see n. 24). 28 A. M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England (London 1951, 2nd ed. 1991) 114. 29 Advertisements in the Bath Advertiser, 20 December 1755 and Bath Journal, 14 May 1759, cited by Malcolm Brown, 'The Jews of Bath', Trans JHSE XXIX (1988) 137. Also Sainsbury, A Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1824). 30 All the aforementioned Pintos are noticed at some length in the BDA XII, 1-6, except Charles Pinto, whose death on 16 November 90</page><page sequence="27">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 1791 was reported in the Gentleman's Magazine, p. 1069, where he is referred to as a 'musician'. 31 Gaster (see n. 5); J. Andrade, A Record of Jews in Jamaica (1941); Bevis Marks Records II, passim and index; Richard Barnett (see n. 18) nos 348, 405 and 1036. N. Temperly, in 'G. F. Pinto', Musical Times CVI (1965) 265 suggests that the Pinto family of musicians was not Jewish; but the synagogue records would seem to leave little doubt that they were. 32 See Grove's Dictionary of Music for John Noelli and members of the Schram family. Also see the appendix to this article for a fuller list of musicians. 33 David Hughson, London (1807), cited by A. Barnett (see n. 5) 40. 34 H. Mayerowitsch, 'The Chazanim of the Great Synagogue, London', Misc. JHSE IV (1942) 87. 35 For more details about Leoni's stage career see BDA IX, 239-42. 36 BDA III, 60-4 and VIII, 274-7; also H. N. Hillibrand, Edmund Kean (1933). 37 A fuller notice of Mary Wells appears in BDA XV. I am grateful to the late Vivian Lipman for providing me with an offprint of Cecil Roth's article, 'A Proselyte of Unrighteousness', The Jewish Monthly 4 (1940) 339-53. APPENDIX There follows a list of those performers, musicians, entertainers, managers, theat? rical personnel and others, who can be identified as Jews, as probable Jews, as being of Jewish extraction, or as converts from or to Judaism. Only persons who were professionally active between 1660 and 1800 are included on this list. All those listed, except those marked with an asterik (#), appear in the Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Man? agers, and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800, by Philip H. Highfill, Jr; Kaiman A. Burnim; and Edward A. Langhans (Southern Illinois University Press 1973-93), 16 volumes. Abraham, Mr (fl. 1793), performer. Abrahams, Miss (fl. 1776), violinist. Abraham, John (fl. 1688), musician. Abrahams, David Bramah, 1775-1837, musician. Abrahams, John (fl. 1775-9), house servant? Abrahams, John, 1777-1856, house servant. Abrams, Charles (fl. 1794), musician. Abrams, Eliza, b. 1763?, singer. Abrams, Miss G. (fl. 1778-80), singer. Abrams, Harriet, 1760-1825?, singer. Abrams, Jane (fl. 1799), singer. Abrams, Mrs Theodosia, c. 1761-1849, singer. Abrams, William (fl. 1794), musician. Adcock, Abraham, d. 1793, musician. Aguilar. See Girelli-Aquilar. Ambrose, Miss (Mrs Keif and Mrs Egerton) (fl. 1739-1813), actress. Ambrose, Miss E. (fl. 1756-87), actress. Ambrose, John, b. 1763, musician. 9i</page><page sequence="28">Kaiman A. Barnim Barnet, Andrew, b. 1733, musician. Barnett, Catherine, then Mrs Richard Phillips (fl. 1786-1800), actress. Barrow, Mrs Joseph. See Mrs Theodosia Abrams. Bland, Maria Theresa, nee Tersi (Romanzini) 1770-1838, singer. Blumfield, H. (of Hull), d. 1818, musician.* Boaz, Herman (fl. 1772-1811), conjuror.* Bossi, Cesare, d. 1802, composer, instrumentalist. Bossy, Dr (fl. c. 1790), quack doctor, real name Garcia.* Bossy, Frederick (fl. 1794), violinist. Braham, John, 1777-1856, singer, manager. Bramah. See David Abrahams. Brandon, James William, 1755-1825, box bookkeeper. Brandon, James Willam, d. 1828, house servant? Brandon, John (fl. 1789-1813), treasurer. Brandon, Mrs Martha, 1727-98?, concessionaire. Brangin, Miss. See Mrs Ralph Wewitzer the second. Brangin, Rhoda, later Mrs James Spriggs (fl. 1779-91), actress. Brent. See also Pinto. Brent, Charles, 1693-1770, singer. Breslaw, Mr, d. 1783, conjuror.* Breslaw, Philip, 1726-1803, conjuror. Buzaglo, Mr (fl. 1792-7), scene painter. Buzaglo, Abraham, d. 1788, contractor to theatres.* Buzaglo, Louis (fl. 1793-5), scene painter. Cabanel, M?ns (fl. 1789-1804?), dancer, pyrotechnist. Cabanel, Eliza (fl. 1792-1800), dancer. Cabanel, Harriot (later Mrs Helme) (fl. 1791-1806), dancer. Cabanel, Rudolphe, 1763-1839, architect, machinist. Cabanel, Victoire (fl. 1792-3), dancer. Calindo. See Galindo and Gough. Carney, Mr (fl. 1733-45), dancer. Cervetto, Giacobbe, 1682-1783, musician. Cervetto, James, 1749-1837, musician. Cimador, Giovanni Battista, 1761-1805, musician. Cohen, Mr (fl. 1770), French horn. Conegliano, Emanuele. See Lorenzo Da Ponte. Cramer, Mr, d. 1781, musician. Cramer, Charles, d. 1799, musician. Cramer, Franz, 1772-1848, musician. Cramer, Johann Baptist, 1771-1858, musician. Cramer, Wilhelm, 1745-99, musician. Da Ponte, Lorenzo (E. Conegliano), 1749-1838, librettist. 92</page><page sequence="29">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 Davies, Anna, later Mrs Emanuel Samuel (an 'apostate Jew') (fl. 1786-1836), actress. Davis, 'Jew' (fl. 1795?-! 819), singer, actor. Davis, Moses (fl. 1785), music master.* De Castro, James (Jacob), 1758-1824, actor. De Castro, Mrs James (fl. 1791-5), singer. Delpini, Carlo Antonio, 1740-1828, actor, dancer. Delpini, Mrs Carlo (fl. 1784-1828), actress, singer. Dressier, John (fl. 1777-1808), musician. Dubourg, Matthew, 1703-67, violinist. Ducrow, Andrew, 1793-1842, equestrian. Ducrow, John, d. 1834, equestrian, clown.* Ducrow, Peter,J. 1814, acrobat. Duplessis, John Simon, musician.* Duplessis, Lewis (fl. 1724-76?), dancer. Egerton, Mrs. See also Miss Ambrose. Egerton, Daniel, 1772-1835, actor, manager. Egerton, Mrs Daniel the first (fl. 1792-1802), actress. Falk, Samuel Jacob Chaim, c. 1710-82, magician.* Fisher, John Abraham, 1744-1806, violinist, composer. Fisher, Mrs Thomas. See Mrs Theodosia Abrams. Francesco. See Hyam. Furtado, Abraham or Charles, 1766-1821, musician.* Furtado, John, 1781-1830?, musician.* Girelli Aquilar, Maria Antonia (fl. 1759-73) singer. Gooch, Mrs William, Elizabeth Sarah, nee Villa Real (fl. 1775-96?), actress. Gordon, Mrs. See Miss Lyon. Hart, Aaron (fl. 1755), teacher of dancing.* Haym, Nicola Francesco, c. 1679-1729, musician. Haym, Nicolino (fl. 1717-20), violinist. Hyam, Mrs (fl. 1781-3), actress. [Hyam], Nicola Francesco, d. 1802, musician? Helme, Mrs. See Cabanel, Harriot. Helme (Jack?) (fl. 1774-1805), dancer. Henriques, Jacob, d. 1768, 'projector'. Herschel, Alexander, d. 1821, musician, optical technician. Isaac, Mr (fl. 1631-1716), dancer, choreographer. Isaac, Mr (fl. 1730), dancing master. Isaac, Matthew. See Dubourg. Isaacs, J., d. 1820, singer. Isaacs, John, 1791-1830, singer. 93</page><page sequence="30">Kaiman A. Burnim Jacob, Signor (fl. 1777), acrobat. Jacobs, Mr (fl. 1768-83), actor. Jacobs, Mr, d. 1784, proprietor.* Jacobs, Mr, d. 1793, carpenter. Jacobs, Mrs (fl. 1790), actress. Jacobs, Miss (fl. 1781.^-92), dancer. Jacobs, C. (fl. 1798), house servant. Jacobs, Miss E. (fl. 1798-1814), singer, actress. Jacobs, Esther (fl. c. 1760), performer.* Jacobs, Miss R. (fl. 1799-1801?), singer? Jacobs, Richard (fl. 1787-1802), carpenter. Jacobs, Mrs Richard (fl. 1798-9), singer. Jacobs, T. (fl. 1800-1), musician. Jona, Mr, d. 1756, prompter. Jonas, Mr (fl. 1776-1815), puppeteer, manager. Jonas, Philip (fl. 1767-86), conjuror. Julien, M?ns (fl. 1786-8), actor, dancer. Julian, Mme (fl. 1784-8), dancer. Julian, [Francis] (fl. 1733-48), actor. Kean, Mr (fl. 1771), performer. Kean, Edmund, 1787-1833, actor. Kean, Edmund (fl. 1788-9) , actor. Kean, Moses, d. 1793, actor. Keif, Mrs. See Miss Ambrose. Leon, Henry, b. 1765, musician.* Leoni, Michael, d. 1796, singer. Lev, Moridt, b. 1777? musician.* Levy, Mr (fl. 1741-2), doorkeeper. Luppino, George Charles, 1683-1725, dancer. Luppino, Mrs George Charles, Charlotte Mary, nee Estcourt, 1688-1754, dancer. Luppino, George Richard Estcourt, 1710-87, dancer, scene designer. Luppino, Mrs George Richard Estcourt, Rosina, nee Violante, d. 1789, dancer. Luppino, Georgina, later Mrs Henry Noble, 1778-1832, dancer. Luppino, Thomas Frederick, 1749-1845, scene designer, dancer. Luppino, Mrs Thomas Frederick, Rosine, nee Simonet, dancer. Lyon, Mr (fl. 1781-8), gallery keeper. Lyon, Miss, later Mrs Gordon (fl. 1781-4), actress, singer. Lyon, James (fl. 1794), musician. Lyon, Meyer. See Leoni. Lyon, William, d. 1748, actor. Lyons, John, d. 1824, actor, manager. 94</page><page sequence="31">The Jewish presence in the London theatre, 1660-1800 Manuell, Mrs Isaac Manuel Lopes Pereira, Leah, d. 1730, actress. Mayer, Philip James, 1732-1820, musician.* Meir ben Judah. See Leoni. Meyer. See also Mayer. Meyer, Jacob. See Philadelphia. Morales, Isaac (fl. 1779-82), actor (Jamaica).* Moschelles, Ignaz, 1794-1870, composer.* Moses, Mr (fl. 1729), actor. Moses, Mr (fl. 1717-32), house servant. Moses, Mr (fl. 1776-82), acrobat. Moss, William Henry, d. 1817, actor. Nathan, Mrs (fl. 1780-9), singer. Noel, George, 1727-89, musician. Noel, John, musician.* Noelli. See Noel. Norsa, Miss (fl. 1735), actress. Norsa, Master (fl. 1734-6), actor. Norsa, Hannah, d. 1785, actress. No well. See Noel. Philadelphia, Jacob Meyer, b. 1735, conjuror.* Phillips, Richard (fl. 1792-1822), actor, manager. Phillips, Mrs Richard. See Barnett, Catherine. Pinto, Mr (fl. 1784-93?), musician. Pinto, Charles, d. 1791, musician.* Pinto, Charlotte (nee Brent), d. 1782, singer, actress. Pinto, George Frederick (fl. 1785-1806), musician. Pinto, Julia, later Mrs Sanders (fl. 1779-1805), actress. Pinto, Thomas, 1714-1783?, musician. Pinto, Mrs Thomas the first, nee Gronaman, stage name 'Sybilla' (fl. 1742-8), actress, singer. Redman, Samuel, d. 1776, actor. Rietti, Solomon, d. 1758, developer of Ranelagh Gardens.* Romian, Signor (fl. 1775-7), singer with Breslaw's troupe.* Romain, Signora (fl. 1775), singer. Romain, Miss (fl. 1782), singer. Romaldo, Mme (fl. 1775-7), singer. Romani or Romanzini. See Bland, Maria Theresa. Romberg, Bernhard Heinrich, 1767-1841, musician. Romondo, George (fl. 1800), dwarf, mime.* Rosomon, Thomas, d. 1782, promoter, proprietor. Russell, Mary, later Mrs Best (fl. 1777-85), dancer (sister of S. T. Russell and daughter of Samuel Russell). 95</page><page sequence="32">Kaiman A. Barnim Russell, Samuel, c. 1747-1808, actor. Russell, Mrs Samuel (fl. 1772-90), actress. Russell, Samuel Thomas, c. 1770-1845, actor. Salomon, Johann Peter, 1745-1815, musician. Samuel, Mr (fl. 1793-9), puppeteer. Samuel(sP), Mrs Emanuel. See Davies, Anna. Saunders, Mr (fl. 1754-73), actor. Saunders, Mr (fl. 1789-1800), singer, actor. Saunders, Mrs, nee Lewis (fl. i789?~99), actress. Saunders, Miss (fl. 1738-48), dancer, actress. Saunders, Miss (fl. 1782), actress. Saunders, Master (fl. 1800-7), equestrian. Saunders, (Esther?) (fl. 1795-1808), dancer, singer. Saunders, (Samuel?) (fl. 1759-^1801), equilibrist. Schr?m, Christopher (fl. 1787-94), musician. Schr?m, Martin (fl. 1794), musician. Schramm, Michael, musician.* Schr?m, S. (fl. 1794), musician. Simmons, Samuel, 1777-1819, actor. Solomon, Samuel, 1780-1819, quack.* Sumbel. See Wells. Sybilla. See Mrs Thos Pinto the first. Tersi. See also Bland. Tersi, Alexander (fl. 1770-80), musician. Tersi, Mrs Alexander, Catherine, nee Zeli (fl. 1773) , actress. Vale, Isaac (1794-8), singer. Wallack, William, 1760-1850, actor. Wells, Mary, nee Davis, later Mrs Joseph Sumbel, 1762-1829, actress. Wewitzer, Miss, later Lady Tyrawly (fl. 1772), actress, singer. Wewitzer, Ralph, 1748-1825, actor. Wewitzer, Mrs Ralph the second, nee Brangin (fl. 1782-95?), actress. Ximines, Nicholas (fl. 1772-3), musician. 96</page></plain_text>