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Portrait medallion - Philippe Égalité

Philippe Égalité

  • Object:

    Portrait medallion

  • Place of origin:

    Etruria (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1790 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Josiah Wedgwood and Sons (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jasperware

  • Museum number:

    3458-1855

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 1, case CA11

This is one of a number of small portrait medallions of key players in the French Revolution that Wedgwood made around 1790.

Louis-Philippe-Joseph, the Duc D'Orléans, was a cousin of Louis XVI and friend of George III, King of England, who actively supported the French Revolution. He adopted the name Philippe Égalité in 1792, after hereditary titles were swept away. As a member of the Convention he voted for the death of the Louis XVI, but was guillotined in the following year during the Reign of Terror. His son Louis-Philippe became King of France after the July Revolution of 1830.

Wedgwood had earlier made a larger oval medallion of the Duc D'Orléans, after a wax modelled by Eley George Mountstephen in 1788, following a suggestion from one of his sales agents in Paris. Three days after the newspapers announced the fall of the Bastille, Wedgwood's son wrote suggesting the factory should make 'snuffbox tops with the Duke of Orleans on them', adding 'You have no doubt seen that the French have regained their liberty & that the Duke is a very great favourite with the popular party.' The response was a small circular medallion with a laurel border, of which this is a smaller variant.

Wedgwood produced similar medallions, intended for mounting on snuffboxes, and which were aimed at both royalists and supporters of the Revolution. These included portraits of Louis XVI and Jacques Necker, the French director-general of finance (both with fleur-de-lys borders), and of the revolutionaries Sylvain Bailly, the marquis de Lafayette, Talleyrand, and the Comte de Mirabeau (all with anthemion borders). He also made several allegorical medallions commemorating the Revolution issued in 1789-93, and others depicting the Storming and Fall of the Bastille in 1789.

Physical description

Jasperware portrait medallion of Louis-Philippe-Joseph, duc d'Orléans.

Place of Origin

Etruria (made)

Date

ca. 1790 (made)

Artist/maker

Josiah Wedgwood and Sons (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Jasperware

Dimensions

Diameter: 2.5 cm Conversion from imperial

Descriptive line

Jasperware portrait medallion of Louis-Philippe-Joseph, duc d'Orléans, made at the factory of Josiah Wedgwood, Etruria, Staffordshire, ca. 1790

Labels and date

Portrait medallion 'Philippe Égalité' depicting Louis-Philippe-Joseph, duc d'Orléans (1747-1793)
made at the factory of Josiah Wedgwood, Etruria, Staffordshire, about 1790
Jasperware

3458-1855 [23/05/2008]

Categories

Ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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