David Sassoon (1792-1864), by Thomas Woolner (1825-1892). 1865. White marble. In the Bhau Daji Lad Museum (formerly V & A), Mumbai. Photograph by Ramachandran Venkatesh, and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Sassoon was a successful merchant-banker who came to what was then Bombay from Bagdad, where his father was the long-serving state treasurer to the Turkish governor. He established the house of David Sassoon & Co., which had vast operations, and became not only wealthy but also a great benefactor. Apart from building synagogues, Sassoon supported children's homes, set aside "a large sum" for building a Mechanics' Institution in Bombay, and endowed various other institutions including the General Hospital at Pune, which was "founded in 1863 for all castes and creeds." It was in appreciation of such generous works that "the citizens of Bombay placed a marble bust of him in the Victoria and Albert Museum, to which he had presented an illuminated clock-tower. His last public act was the erection of a statue [there] in memory of Albert, prince consort" (Jacobs et al.). Woolner's bust invests Sassoon with great dignity. It stands in front of Matthew Noble's statue of Albert in the very impressive main hall of the museum.

Bibliography

Jacobs, Joseph, Goodman Lipkind and J. Hyams. "Sassoon." Jewish Encyclopaedia.com

Woolner, Amy. Thomas Woolner, R. A.: Sculptor and Poet. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1917 (bust listed p. 339)


Created 4 June 2016