This week Julia Weiner, Director (Content) Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of Art History at Regent's, was featured in the documentary ‘Paint, prejudice and the power of art - the story of Solomon Hart’. The piece was aired on 25 September 2023 as part of the David FitzGerald programme on BBC Radio Devon.
Solomon Alexander Hart (1806-1881) was a British painter and engraver, and the first Jewish member of the Royal Academy in London. His work has come back into public focus recently after it was announced that a giant painting which hasn’t been seen in public for decades will be rolled out at The Box in Plymouth on 27 September, as part of a historic live conservation event.
Lady Jane Grey at Her Place of Execution was painted by Hart in 1839. The painting, which measures over three and a half metres high by just under three and a half metres wide, has been in storage for years. At the upcoming event in Plymouth, a team of conservation experts will assess its condition to understand the stability of the canvas and paint layers in order to plan the scale of restoration required.
Julia said: "This week, a huge painting measuring almost four metres square will be unrolled and displayed at The Box Museum and Art Gallery in Plymouth. The Plymouth-born artist Solomon Alexander Hart lived most of his life in London but remained very attached to his birthplace and in 1879 donated what he considered one of his finest works, Lady Jane Grey at Her Place of Execution, to his home city. Unfortunately, it was just too big to go anywhere and has remained rolled up in storage for most of the intervening years.
"I am delighted that Solomon Alexander Hart will finally get some recognition as he is an artist I have written a lot about. He was the first Jew to be made a Royal Academician as early as 1840 and he did much to promote the idea that Jews could form part of society. I have now been interviewed by the BBC for both TV and Radio and am hopeful that the painting will soon be on permanent view after conservation."