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The Usurer

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.282

English print of a Jewish moneylender cradling a sack of coins published in the mid-18th century by Carington Bowles. Many antisemitic depictions of Jews show them hoarding, counting, or handling money. These stereotypes originated from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews. They were barred from owning land, farming, joining trade guilds, and military service. These restrictions forced many Jews into occupations such as money changing or money lending. Additionally, medieval religious belief held that charging interest (known as usury) was sinful, and the Jews who occupied these professions were looked down upon, predominantly by European Christians. They were perceived as morally deficient, greedy, and willing to engage in unethical business practices. Jews’ inability to legally hold other occupations, combined with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, helped form the canard of the greedy Jew who exploited Gentiles. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish man expressing an exaggerated desire for, or counting money. Carington Bowles (1724-1793) was a London-based print publisher. He and his father, John Bowles, operated John Bowles & Son in Cornhill, London, from approximately 1752 to 1764. Afterward, Carington took over his uncle’s print business at St Paul’s Churchyard, after his death. The print is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Date
creation:  approximately 1766-1793
Geography
creation: London (England)
Language
English
Classification
Art
Category
Prints
Genre/Form
Prints.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
 
Record last modified: 2021-04-09 16:36:49
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn539088