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Model - model for reverse for the 1851 Exhibition Prize Medal
  • model for reverse for the 1851 Exhibition Prize Medal
    Wyon, Leonard Charles, born 1826 - died 1891
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model for reverse for the 1851 Exhibition Prize Medal

  • Object:

    Model

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wyon, Leonard Charles, born 1826 - died 1891 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wax, modelled

  • Museum number:

    A.1-2004

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a wax model for the reverse of one of the official medals of the International Exhibition of 1851. Known as the ‘Great Exhibition’, which was held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.

Five official bronze medals were produced. They all had portraits of Queen Victoria and/or Prince Albert on the obverse, and different designs on the reverse.

The design refers to Britain welcoming and rewarding all the nations who exhibited at the Exhibition. It shows a personification of Britannia backed by flags of different nations, crowning figures representing Commerce and Industry.

The finished medal would have been formed mechanically when two engraved steel dies made from this model pressed the image onto a blank disc of softer metal held between them.

The medal represents one of Wyon's masterpieces. A very high profile commission, the project clearly was important to the newly appointed Chief Engraver, and it is evident he lavished great care over the design. In this impressive wax model the detail is superb and technique faultless. This highly detailed and carefully finished model is clearly not a technical aid to be used in the process of making the model but a showpiece to demonstrate not merely the intended finished appearance of the medal, but the great technical skill of the artist.

Physical description

Circular wax model depicting, in low relief, an allegorical scene of female figures representing Britannia with Industry, Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Britannia is crowning Industry, who kneels before her while the continents look on.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1851 (made)

Artist/maker

Wyon, Leonard Charles, born 1826 - died 1891 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wax, modelled

Dimensions

Diameter: 23 cm approximately

Object history note

Previously unregistered object (lost 6450 held in Section.

Descriptive line

Model, wax, for the reverse for the 1851 Exhibition Prize Medal, made by Leonard Charles Wyon, Britain, 1851

Materials

Wax

Subjects depicted

Personification; Figures (representations); Medals; Commemoration; Allegory; Allegorical figures

Categories

Metalwork; Coins & Medals; Great Exhibition; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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