Daniel Mendoza, a Sephardi Jew, was champion boxer of England for most years from 1788 until 1795. Mendoza was a hugely popular character who introduced a new ‘scientific’ style of boxing, and was famed throughout the country as a skilled and courageous fighter.
This Staffordshire pottery jug dates from around 1800 and depicts a famous fight between Mendoza and Richard Humphreys in 1788.
Mendoza’s success encouraged other Jews into the boxing ring, the most famous being Samuel Elias, known as ‘Dutch Sam’. Mendoza set up a school of boxing in 1787, and the many Jewish boys he trained helped to encourage a lasting connection between Jews and boxing in England.
The museum holds many depictions of Daniel Mendoza and other 18th and 19th century Jewish boxers in its extensive collections of prints and drawings.