Is this site Jewish?

Well, sort of …

However, as I am not an art historian, I am not sure if having commissioned, and then mislaid portraits, is a particularly Jewish trait, or whether it is simply typical of the well-to-do middle classes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to have their portraits painted.

I am from a typically extended family of the period, having lots of third cousins as my grandparents and great-grandparents mostly came from families with a dozen or so siblings. With so many children it is easy, within just two or three generations, for paintings from within one family to be widely distributed amongst branches that may not even know each other, or have no more than a nodding acquaintance, and anyway the orphan picture may simply be stacked somewhere out of sight and forgotten.

To start with the site concentrates on my ‘ancestors’—on my father’s side the Cohens and Salamans and on my mother’s the Josephs.

Later there will be a glimpse of my late mother-in-law’s family, the Campbells.

I should be delighted to hear from anyone who knows of a similar situation in other families, Jewish or not—see the contact page for details—and add them to the site.

So perhaps it is more Jew-ish than Jewish.

bringing together ‘orphan’ portraits and
Orphan of the Month

Site 2010-12 Colin Cohen