Speaker Series: Benjamin Zucker -- "Father Yale: from Boston, to London, to Madras"

  • 05 Nov 2014
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • The East India Club 16 St. James’s Square London SW1Y 4LH
  • 3


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Benjamin Zucker 
co-author with Diana Scarisbrick of
Elihu Yale: Merchant, Collector & Patron 
speaks on
"The life journey of ‘Father Yale’ from Boston to London to Madras"


Wednesday, 05 November 2014
18:30 to 20:00

The East India Club
16 St. James’s Square
London SW1Y 4LH

The East India Club has a dress code of jacket and tie for gentlemen with commensurate formality for ladies, and use of mobile phones is strictly forbidden inside the Club.


Junior Members: £5
Senior Members and Guests: £10


Benjamin Zucker (SM ’62), co-author with Diana Scarisbrick of Elihu Yale: Merchant, Collector & Patron (London: Thames & Hudson, 2014) will be speaking about their recently published book which chronicles the life journey of ‘Father Yale’ from Boston to London to Madras. 


About the Speaker: Benjamin Zucker is a graduate of Yale College (Class of 1962) and Harvard Law School.  He is one of the world's leading gem dealers, based in New York City.  He has written extensively on gemstones, coloured stones, and the history of ring collecting.  Diana Scarisbrick is an historian specializing in jewelry and engraved gems.  She has curated exhibitions in the UK and abroad and has written many books, including Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty, and Portrait Jewels: Opulence and Intimacy from the Medici to the Romanovs.  She is a Research Associate at the Beazley Archive, Oxford, and recently collaborated with Professor Sir John Boardman on The Marlborough Gems. 


About the Talk: Elihu Yale's name is famous for the great educational institution, Yale University, of which he was an early benefactor.  Yale made his fortune in India, mostly through trading in diamonds.  Arriving in Madras in 1672, through his outstanding abilities he rose through the hierarchy of the East India Company from clerk to governor.  When he returned from India in 1699 he brought with him Indian gems, furniture, and textiles.

Yale's collection was dispersed at seven auction sales after his death in 1721, and the catalogues of those sales survive, providing information about the lively London art market of the period.  Hitherto neglected by historians, the Yale sales prove to be a landmark in the history of both collecting and of auctioneering art in early 18th century England.  Analyses of the categories throw light on Yale’s personality and interests: he is revealed as a Fellow of the Royal Society, churchman and a philanthropist, totally in tune with the English Enlightenment.

The authors explore Yale’s life in Madras and London and his interests, including musical and scientific instruments and books, and then turn to Yale as a dealer and a collector of diamonds and jewelry and works of art. The story is one with many appeals: the East India Company and early 18th-century London; furniture, both Indian and English; the fashion for things Oriental in the West; gemstones and jewelry; and collecting works of art.

NB  The publishers, Thames & Hudson, have offered a special discount to members of the Yale Club of London for purchases of this book (RRP £24.95).  To avail of this offer (£18.00 for the book including UK mainland delivery), please call the distributor Littlehampton Book Services on 01903 828503, quoting reference: TH248.  Offer is subject to availability and runs until 31 December 2014.

Please note the following dress code for the East India Club: 

Ladies - smart separates, elegant dress or business attire. Trousers should be tailored.
Gentlemen - business attire or a jacket, collar and tie, with tailored trousers
Casual wear (e.g. leather clothing, denim type material, polo-neck sweaters, tracksuits, t-shirts, shorts, mini-skirts and leggings, training shoes, deck shoes or similar casual footwear) is not permitted.
The East India Club has a strict 'no mobile phones' policy.
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