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Gillray etching of Jewish boxer Mendoza in 1st Humphreys bout

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.158

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    Gillray etching of Jewish boxer Mendoza in 1st Humphreys bout

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Etching by James Gillray of Jewish boxer Daniel Mendoza and his former mentor, Richard Humphreys, in the middle of a boxing match on January 9, 1788, in Odiham, England. Mendoza lost the fight unexpectedly after injuring his leg. This was the first of three matches to decide the Champion. Mendoza beat Humphreys in 1789 and 1790. Billed as Mendoza the Jew, he held the title from 1792 to 1795. He was the first prominent Jewish prizefighter in England and inspired a generation of boxers. Mendoza was smaller than his opponents, and won due to his superior technique, speed, and agility. His style, known as the Mendoza or Jewish school, established many elements of modern boxing. Gillray (1756-1815) was one of the greatest caricaturists of the 18th century. The print is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    The Famous Battle Between Richard Humphreys & Daniel Mendoza
    Date
    publication/distribution:  1788 January 11
    depiction:  1788 January 09
    Geography
    publication: London (England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Markings
    front, bottom, black ink : The famous Battle between Richard Humphreys & Daniel Mendoza. Fought at Odiham in Hampshire January 9th. 1788. Allowed by all Judges of / this Gymnastic Art, to have been the most scientific ever exhibited; the Odds in favor of Humphreys, before the Battle, was 2. to 1. then 6. to 4. & at last 2. to 1. against him, / on account of the extraordinary Skill displayed by Mendoza; who, after having knocked down Humphreys Three times successively, & supported the honors of the stage for / near half an hour, by his antagonist closing with him, & by reason of his superior Strength & Weight, giving him several severe falls, he, breathless, gave up the contest / Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
    front, bottom, black ink : Pubd Jany. 11th. 1788, by S. W. Fores, No. 3 Picadilly London
    Contributor
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Publisher: S. W. Fores
    Artist: James Gillray
    Subject: Daniel Mendoza
    Biography
    The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.
    Daniel Mendoza was born on July 5, 1764, in Aldgate, London, England, to a large, poor Sephardic family descended from Spanish Marranos. He was apprenticed to a glass cutter. At 16, Mendoza began training with Richard Humphreys, a professional bareknuckle boxer. There were no weight classes in boxing, and the 5 foot 7 inch, 160 pound Mendoza had to face larger opponents. To compensate, he developed a technical style that emphasized footwork, jabbing, agility, speed, and and introduced the concept of defense. He rose to prominence quickly, fighting as Mendoza the Jew, and was the first Jewish figher to become champion. Mendoza fought approximately 35 professional fights, losing only 4, and was Champion of England from 1792-1795. Mendoza became one of the most celebrated figures in 18th century England. His image and, most frequently, the story of his three bouts with his mentor Humphreys, were portrayed in prints, tableware, and other merchandise. The Prince of Wales was a patron, and this royal acceptance was beneficial to Jews throughout British society. Jews had been expelled from England in 1296, and not permitted to return untl 1656. Mendoza opened several boxing academies where he taught his scientific approach to the sport, known as the Mendoza or Jewish school, and published a book, The Art of Boxing. He also performed touring demonstrations. He was married and had 11 children. Mendoza, 72, died on September 3, 1836.

    Physical Details

    Language
    English
    Classification
    Art
    Category
    Prints
    Physical Description
    Etched print in black ink on paper of 2 muscular, barechested male boxers in breeches, facing each other in fighting stances with raised fists in the center of a ring. Humphrey, on the left, has a swollen, left eye and wears wool socks, and no shoes, having changed to improve the grip on the boards, which are wet from the heavy, falling rain. Each boxer has 2 prizefighters in shirts and breeches behind him in his corner; Isaacs is Mendoza's second, Jacob his water bottle holder, with Tring and Johnson for Humphreys. On the far left are 2 gentleman umpires in hat and long coats with pocket watches: Moravia for Mendoza and Allen for Humphreys. They fight in an elevated ring with wooden posts and are surrounded by a large crowd.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 12.875 inches (32.703 cm) | Width: 16.125 inches (40.958 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The print was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz family.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Special Collection
    Katz Ehrenthal Collection
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:30:19
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn538264

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