In the Synagogue (The Writing on the Wall)

Image credit: Ben Uri Collection

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Solomon Alexander Hart's earliest painting on Jewish subject matter, 'Interior of a Polish Synagogue at the Moment when the Manuscript of the Law is Elevated' (Tate), was begun in 1829, completed in 1830 and exhibited at the Suffolk Street Gallery. 'In the Synagogue', dated to approximately 1837–1838 (on the grounds of its similarity to other watercolours of the period), is one of the earliest watercolours of a synagogue interior to be painted in Britain.

The synagogue depicted in both paintings, variously known as the 'Polish' Synagogue or Cutler Street or Carter Street Synagogue, was situated on the first floor of a building on the corner of these two streets. Established between 1790 and 1802, it was one of three minor congregations reputedly established in London in the eighteenth century and served a predominantly lower-middle-class Ashkenazi Orthodox Jewish community.

Ben Uri Gallery & Museum



In the Synagogue (The Writing on the Wall)




watercolour on paper


H 40 x W 28 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased at auction, 2019

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Ben Uri Gallery & Museum

108a Boundary Road, St John's Wood, London, Greater London NW8 0RH England

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