Phillips, Sir Lionel

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PHILLIPS, SIR LIONEL (1855–1936), South African financier and mining magnate. Born in London, he emigrated to South Africa (from England). He settled in Kimberley in 1875 and started work as a diamond sorter. In 1881 he became a director of the Griqualand West Diamond Company. He joined the leading mining house of Hermann Eckstein and Company in 1889 and succeeded Eckstein as head of the firm. In 1891 he was president of the Chamber of Mines and he played an important part in the financial organization and technical development of the gold mines. Phillips was one of the four members of the Reform Committee who, after the fiasco of the Jameson Raid (1896), were sentenced to death. The sentences were commuted to a fine of £25,000 and banishment. He returned to South Africa after the Boer War, was a member of the first Union Parliament (1910–15), and was created a baronet in 1912. During the disturbances accompanying the Rand strike of 1913 he was severely wounded. Phillips' views on contemporary affairs are given in Transvaal Problems (1905) and Some Reminiscences (1924). On his retirement he settled at the Cape. Phillips and his wife Dorothea Sarah Florence Alexandra Ortlepp laid the foundations of the Johannesburg Art Gallery collection and of the Michaelis Gallery in Cape Town.


G. Saron and L. Hotz (eds.), Jews in South Africa (1955), index. add. bibliography: G. Wheatcroft, The Randlords (1985), index; P. Struik, Art and Aspirations: The Randlords of South Africa and Their Collections (2002).

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Phillips, Sir Lionel

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