Silver menorah discovered in the vaults at old New Court.
The menorah is a seven-branched candlestick used by Jews from the 8th century. The construction of the menorah was prescribed in the book of Exodus, chapter 25 verses 31 to 40. The menorah consists of seven branches which represent the seven days of the creation of the World. Fresh olive oil of the purest quality was burned daily to light its lamps. The menorah has been a symbol of Judaism since ancient times.
The maker’s mark is that of Erhard(t) Christian Specht of Frankfurt. He was the son and brother of silversmiths. The latter used a very similar mark but the one on the Rothschild menorah is clearly that of Erhard(t) Christian who was baptised in 1766 and became a master of the Silversmith's Guild in 1791. In 1796 he married the daughter of an Arnhem silversmith. He died in 1806.
The piece is absolutely typical of German neo-classicism of the period, and it is possible that Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) brought this piece with him from the family home in the Judengasse in Frankfurt, when he came to England at the turn of the nineteenth century. The 'servant light' is possibly not contemporary with the piece.