Organised by Professor Abigail Green, Professor David Rechter and Dr. Oliver Cox, University of Oxford, and Dr. Juliet Carey, Waddesdon Manor.
This workshop aims to establish the Jewish country house both as a focus for scholarly research and as a site of European memory. By focusing on a hitherto unidentified group of country houses – those that were owned, renewed and sometimes built by Jews – we aim to establish the importance of Jewish country houses like Port Lympne Mansion, Schloss Freienwalde, Villa Kerylos and Castello Sonnino as variations of a pan-European phenomenon deserving serious consideration from an academic and a heritage viewpoint.
The workshop aims to bring scholars working on Jewish country houses, castelli, chateaux, Schlösser and Villas together with curators, museum and heritage professionals working either in ‘Jewish country houses’ themselves or in the area of European Jewish heritage more broadly. The two day workshop will be held at TORCH, University of Oxford, with a visit to Waddesdon Manor [], the only surviving Rothschild house with its collections and interiors intact.
Jewish country houses have so far escaped systematic study because they do not fit existing paradigms either in modern Jewish history or country house studies. The historiography of European Jewish elites has tended to focus on the grande bourgeoisie in its urban setting and does not consider the role families like the Bischoffsheims, the Bleichröders, the Péreires and the Sonninos assumed through their rural estates, nor the role of Jewish country houses in the self-fashioning of many leading Jewish figures such as Benjamin Disraeli, Ferdinand de Rothschild and Philip Sassoon in the UK, Leopoldo Franchetti in Italy, Walter Rathenau in Germany, and Théodor Reinach in France. Conversely, the literature on country houses, which typically focuses on the landed aristocracy, has paid little or no attention to the existence of country houses and rural estates in Jewish hands, or to the particular challenges this posed in a rural landscape and social context so powerfully shaped by Christianity.
9:30 Welcome & Opening Remarks:
Abigail Green (Oxford).
9:40 The Lure of the Land, Chair: Leontine Meijer van Mensch (Jewish Museum, Berlin)
Laura Leibmann (Reed College) Creolizing Country Homes and the Dutch Jewish Pastoral
Paolo Pellegrini, Places, Symbols and Images of an Elite: the Country Houses of the Italian Jewish Nobility
Lisa Silverman (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Property and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Provincial Austria
11:05 Coffee
11:25 Villas and Chateaux, Chair: Ewald Frie (Tübingen)
Diana Davis – Gunnersbury Park, 1835-1925: a Rothschild Family Villa
Alice Legé (University of Amiens/ Milan University) – Torre Alfina: A Cahen d’Anvers Manor in Italy
Mimi Schmidt (Jindal Global University) – Sommerfrische, Connoisseurship, Scandal and the Temporary in the Jewish Country House in Austria: Baron Nathaniel Rothschild’s castle in Reichenau and Dr. Josef Kranz’ Villa Raach
12:50 Lunch 
13:35 The Political World of the Jewish Country House, Chair: David Feldman (Oxford/ Birkbeck)
Todd Endelman (University of Michigan) Disraeli at Hughenden – A Fish out of Water?
Lisa Leff (American University) A Jewish and Republican Chateau: Jacques de Reinach in Nivillers, France, 1882-1892.
Martin Sabrow (ZZF Potsdam/ Humboldt University), Schloss Freienwalde: a Jewish restoration of a Prussian legacy.
15:00 Tea
15:20 The Anglo-French Connection, Chair: Juliet Carey (Waddesdon Manor/National Trust).
Silvia Davoli (Strawberry Hill) and Nino Strachey (National Trust), In Walpole’s footsteps – Braham and Stern at Strawberry Hill
Tom Stammers (Durham), The Sterns, the Singers and Cross-Cultural Exchanges
Olga Medvedkova (CNRS), Renaissance as locus: Bakst and the imaginary chateau in the Sleeping Beauty panels
16:50: Tea
17: 10 Building New, Chair: Lisa Leff (American)
Pauline Prevost-Marcilhacy (Université Charles-de-Gaulle – The castle of Ferrières, an emblematic house
Jane Stevenson (University of Aberdeen) – Philip Sassoon: perfectionism and the English country house
Volker Welter (University of California) – Modern Bankers, Modern Architecture: Two Jewish Country Houses from the 1920s near Berlin
18:40 end. 19:00 dinner Al Shami/ Brasserie Blanc (tbc)
DAY 2, March 6th 2018: WADDESDON MANOR
8:45 Bus departs for Waddesdon
9:45 Coffee & Croissant at Waddesdon
10:15 Keynote lecture, Chair: Abigail Green (Oxford)
Leora Auslander (University of Chicago), What made a Jewish country home Jewish?
11:15 Tour of Waddesdon (Juliet Carey, Pippa Shirley)
12:30 Lunch
13:30 Curating the Jewish Country House, Chair: Oliver Cox (Oxford)
Practitioners, making short 7-10 minute presentations:
Robert Bandy, Hughenden Manor (NT)
Jenny Lebard, Chateau de Champs
Martin Faass, Liebermann villa
Rebecca Graham, Nymans (NT)
Celia Hughes, Upton (NT)
David Kenyan, Bletchley Park
Helen Fry, Trent Park
15:30 Coffee.
16:00 The Future of the Jewish Country House Chair: David Rechter [academic and touristic networks, general discussion]
Sharman Kadish Jewish Heritage UK: Jewish heritage tourism and the country house
Daria Brasca, Trieste, The HERA project “Transfer of cultural objects in the Alpe Adria Region in the 20th century”: reflections on the Jewish owned cultural heritage.
17:30 Bus back from Waddesdon.

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