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Ralph Harari

(1893—1969) merchant banker and art scholar and collector


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(b. Cairo, 28 Oct. 1892; d. London, 26 May 1969). Merchant banker and collector. The elder son of Sir Victor Harari Pasha, a leading member of the Anglo-Jewish community in Egypt, he was educated at Lausanne and Pembroke College, Cambridge. On returning to Egypt, he became a junior officer in the Palestine campaign of Edmund Allenby and then finance officer to Ronald Storrs, the military governor of Jerusalem. In 1920 he served under Herbert Samuel as director of the Department of Commerce and Trade in the British Mandate, but returned to Egypt in 1925 to help in the family business. With the outbreak of World War II, he became economic adviser to GHQ Middle East, and then served under Peter Ritchie-Calder, the director of plans in the Department of Political Warfare in London. After the war, he stayed in London as managing director of the merchant bank S. Japhet & Co., and when it was taken over he joined the board of the Charterhouse group. From the 1920s he was interested in Islamic metalwork, becoming an authority on the subject and contributing a chapter to the Survey of Persian Art. His collection of Islamic metalwork, which was formed in Egypt, is now in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo. From the early 1930s he also collected drawings by Aubrey Beardsley (1872–98) and other European artists of the late 19th century and early 20th. Rings and engraved gems of all periods were another passion. After World War II he turned his attention to Japanese paintings and drawings and amassed a fine collection, concentrating at first on Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) and the Ukiyoe masters and later widening his scope to include other work, such as that of the Nanga and Shijō schools.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.


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