Published: 26 January, 2016
MOSHE Oved may have stood out in his flowing purple robes serving customers in his jewellery shop in Bloomsbury, but he was more than just a shopkeeper – he was also a gifted sculptor whose works are much sought after.
Now, the Ben Uri gallery in St John’s Wood have acquired a rare early bronze portrait by Moshe Oved depicting a pious Ost Jude (eastern Jew) with characteristic sidelocks and decorative brimmed hat.
Born in Poland in 1885, Moshe Oved became one of the founders of Ben Uri in 1915, and helped to acquire such important paintings as David Bomberg’s Ghetto Theatre. He died in 1958.
He was an authority on cameos, antique watches and clocks and his shop, Cameo Corner in Museum Street, became famous in the 1930s. He sold the Mosaic Fabergé Egg to King George V for £250, possibly as a gift for Queen Mary’s birthday.
It was while sheltering in the basement of the shop during the Blitz that he first began modelling rings to steady his trembling hands – he also created a series of bronze heads and candelabra to commemorate the Holocaust.