Tags: Universities, Banking, Jews, Trade, Italy, place: Antwerp
Financier and benefactor Arthur Serena was born in 1852/3 in Antwerp. He was the son of the exiled Venetian patriot Chevalier Leone Serena, a shipping and insurance broker who at one time worked against the Austrians for an independent Venetian Republic, and his Belgian wife. The Serena family was probably of Jewish descent. The family settled in London in the mid-1850s where his father resumed his business. Arthur inherited his business interests and became a financial magnate. He was active in Anglo-Italian commercial relations, holding a range of public offices and services. He was elected honorary Vice-President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce; he was Chairman of the London Savings Bank; and acted as Treasurer of the London Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the management committee of the Royal Academy of Music. He was Honorary Consul-General for San Marino, and President of the committee for the Garibaldi centenary. In 1917, Arthur donated a substantial sum of money for the creation of the Serena Professorship of Italian at the University of Cambridge. He also endowed the Serena Medal awarded annually by the British Academy for the promotion of Italian studies. Living at no. 36 York Terrace, Regent’s Park, he died in March 1922.