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Hand-colored etching of a Jewish peddler buying a pair of breeches

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.484

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    Hand-colored etching of a Jewish peddler buying a pair of breeches


    Brief Narrative
    Early 19th century, English cartoon showing a Jewish peddler buying used clothing. The print was published by William Davison of Alnwick, an English printer and pharmacist. The peddler is depicted with several stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men: a beard, long sidelocks, and a large nose. Peddlers were itinerant vendors who sold goods to the public. Peddling was a common occupation for young Jewish men during the 18th and 19th centuries. Most peddlers hoped their hard work would serve as a springboard to more lucrative and comfortable occupations. However, old prejudices formed an antisemitic stereotype of the Jewish peddler, which 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 limited Jews to the occupations of retail peddling, hawking, and moneylending. 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 and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The inability of Jews 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 peddler, an untrustworthy figure that sold cut-rate items at inflated prices. This print is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    Jew Purchasing Old Clothes
    publication/distribution:  1812-1817
    publication: Alnwick (England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, top right, above image, printed, black ink : 5
    front, bottom center, below image, printed, black ink : Jew purchasing old Clothes. / Printed and Published by W. Davison Alnwick.
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Publisher: William Davison
    Printer: William Davison
    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.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Hand-painted etching printed on a sheet of faded and discolored off-white paper. The image shows two men standing on the corner of two empty streets lined with long buildings, both with several windows. The man on the right has a beard, long sidelocks, and a large nose, which identify him as a Jew. He is wearing a blue, three-quarter length coat, matching breeches, brown stockings, and a black, wide-brimmed hat. The man on the left wears a suit-style brown jacket, with green breeches and a black, brimmed hat with a tuft on top. The Jewish man is holding a pair of breeches in his outstretched hands, while the other man has his right arm extended with the palm of his hand turned up, waiting for payment. At the far end of one street is a church with a tall spire. Printed below the image is the title and publication information. The paper is faded with several water stains and discoloration from where the watercolor paint has run along the edges of the image. On the back, there are water stains across the surface.
    overall: Height: 7.500 inches (19.05 cm) | Width: 10.500 inches (26.67 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, watercolor

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Alnwick (England)

    Administrative Notes

    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 18:13:48
    This page:

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