Maquette of medieval Jewish businesswoman unveiled in London

Maquette of medieval Jewish businesswoman unveiled in London

Campaign for statue of 13th century Jewish businesswoman in Winchester comes to London in bid to raise funds

A maquette of a Jewish medieval businesswoman from Winchester’s Jewry Street is set to be unveiled in London this week, as part of a fundraising campaign for a proper statue.

Licoricia, a highly-educated woman who raised funds for Henry III and Queen Eleanor, was a member of the nationally significant medieval Jewish community in Winchester and the most famous of its successful businesswomen.

Jews are recorded as living in Winchester from 1148, and by the 13th century the Jewish community in the city was one of the most important in England.

However, a series of blood libel claims led to the hanging of community leader, Abraham Pinch, in front of the synagogue he headed. Simon de Montfort ransacked the Jewish quarter in 1264. Shortly after, all Jews were expelled from England.

Now, Winchester’s residents are fundraising for a bronze life-size statue of Licoricia and her son Asser outside the Discovery Centre in Winchester, near where she lived more than 700 years ago.

Backers say it will have “important educational purposes and promote religious tolerance and the role of women in society…It will educate people about the city’s important medieval Jewish community, its achievements and its persecution”.

Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, who was commissioned by Princes William and Harry to complete a statue of their mother, Diana, has been lined up to produce the piece by the Licoricia of Winchester Statue Appeal, led by historian and author Simon Sebag-Montefiore, who is the appeal’s patron.

Campaigners for a statue will unveil the maquette at the Art Worker’s Guild in London on Thursday between 12.30 and 14.00.

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