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Sir George Henry Lewis, 1st Baronet (21 April 1833 – 7 December 1911) was an English lawyer of Jewish extraction.

Contents

Biography

Solicitor

Lewis was born at 10 Ely Place, Holborn in London and educated at University College, London. In 1850 he was articled to his father, James Graham Lewis (1804-1869), founder of Lewis & Lewis, one of the best-known firms of solicitors in the city of London. George was admitted in Hilary term in 1856, and was subsequently taken into partnership by his father and uncle. He first made his name in prosecuting the directors of the Overend and Gurney Bank, who had caused the disastrous panic of 1866, and for a time he devoted special attention to financial cases.

In criminal cases he drew public attention to himself by his cross-examination in the Bravo case in 1875, and from that time onward was connected with most criminal "causes célèbres," being conspicuous in the prosecution of fraudulent persons like Madame Rachel and Slade the medium. Among other cases may be mentioned the Hatton Garden diamond robbery case; Belt versus Lawes; and the Royal Baccarat Scandal, in which the Prince of Wales was called as a witness; and he was selected by the Parnell Commission to conduct the case for Charles Stewart Parnell and the Irish party against The Times. Lewis had by far the largest practise in financial cases of any lawyer in London, and was especially expert in libel cases, being retained by some of the chief newspapers. He showed himself especially skilful in exposing the practises of usurious money-lenders.

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Honours and family

Lewis was knighted in 1893, and raised to the rank of baronet in 1902 as Lewis of Portland Place.

Lewis was married twice: 1st to Victorine Kann (1840 Frankfurt/Germany - 21 April 1865 London), who died shortly after childbirth (daughter Alice Victorine Lewis) ; 2nd to Elizabeth Eberstadt (27 October 1844 Mannheim/Germany - 4 September 1931 London), daughter of Ferdinand Eberstadt of Worms/Mannheim and his wife Sara Seligmann. Elizabeth was sister of the professor of architecture in Berlin Rudolph Eberstadt and aunt of banker and philanthropist Otto Hermann Kahn in New York.

The Lewises had three children: George James Graham Lewis, 2nd Baronet, (1868 - 1927); Gertrude Rachel Lewis (1871 - after 1949); and Katherine Elizabeth Lewis (1878 - 1961).

In their London home, Sir George and Lady Lewis met 'tout le monde'. Juxon described it: "Over the next thirty years this house was to be thronged with painters, sculptors, musicians, actors, writers, lawyers, politicians, indeed, .... , to be invited to "Lady Lewis's" was to enter a social milieu at once fluid and eclectic.... Here the establishment and Bohemia had to embrace - because Elizabeth wanted them to."

He died on 7 December 1911 at Portland Place in London.[1]

References

  • Men and Women of the Times; Who's Who;
  • Burke's Peerage, Baronetage, and Knighthood, 1903
  • Juxon, John: Lewis & Lewis; The Life and Times of a Victorian Solicitor. William Collins Sons & Co., Glasgow 1983
  • Ellmann, Richard: Oscar Wilde. R. Piper, Munich 1991
  • Ash, Russell: Sir Edward Burne-Jones; Pavilian Books Ltd, London, 1993 [Katie Lewis]
  • Burne-Jones, Edward: Letters to Katie; British Museum Publications, 1988
  • Dictionary of National Biography, London 1912
  • Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Vol. II, 1901-1950, Oxford University Press 1961
  • Concise Dictionary of National Biography 1901-1950, Oxford University Press, 1961
  • Dictionary of British Portraiture, The Victorians, Bd. 3. B.T. Batsford Limited London 1981
  • Who was Who 1897-1916
  • Debrett's Illustrated Baronetage of the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1908
  • Kelly's Handbook of the Titled, Landed and Official Classes for 1925 (51.th edition)
  • Weimarer Historisch-genealoges Taschenbuch des gesamten Adels jehudaischen Ursprungs (Semigotha)Kyffhauser-Verlag, Munich, 1913

This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain. Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages


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