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Medal of Bonaparte and the Treaty of Lunéville

  • Object:

    Medal

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (struck)

  • Date:

    1801 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hancock, John Gregory (made)
    Kempson and Kindon (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    struck bronze

  • Museum number:

    239-1886

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bronze medal of the bust of Napoleon, when First Consul of France, and commemorating the treaty of Lunéville, shows the British taste for Napoleonic subjects, when Britain remained the principal opponent to Napoleon's power. The collecting of memorabilia of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars would increase after the fall of the Empire.

Physical description

Bronze medal showing the uniformed right profile bust of Napoleon Bonaparte as consul on the obverse, and on the reverse a crown made of branches of oak and palm surrounding an inscription in French.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (struck)

Date

1801 (dated)

Artist/maker

Hancock, John Gregory (made)
Kempson and Kindon (made)

Materials and Techniques

struck bronze

Marks and inscriptions

BONAPARTE
Obverse

I.G.H. / K&K
Obverse, below sitter's right shoulder.

SAGESSE / DANS / LES CONSEILS / ET COURAGE / DANS / LES COMBATS / MDCCC1
Wisdom of advice and bravery in fights, 1801
Reverse

Dimensions

Diameter: 3.5 mm

Object history note

Given by Thomas Tapping, Esq. in 1886.

Historical significance: Bramsen records numerous designs commemorating the Treaty of Lunéville (Paix de Lunéville, Bramsen, 1907, II, pp. 18-23, nos 104-139; this medal no. 115), by French as well as German or British medallists. The model for Napoleon's profile was probably French, as is the inscription in French.
During Napoleon's reign as First Consul and then Emperor, as much as after his fall, memorabilia of the Empire became collectible, and was as such sought in Great Britain.

Historical context note

Napoleon is represented in his uniform of First Consul, a title he used after he seized power on18 Brumaire in 1799 and replaced the Directory with the Consulate.
The date 1801 on the reverse of the medal refers to a stepping stone in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. After a series of victories against the Austrian army in 1800, France forced the Holy Roman Empire to sign a truce at Lunéville on 9 February 1801. As the Austrian ceased combat, Britain remained alone fighting France until the short-lived Peace of Amiens in March 1802. The Treaty of Lunéville was recorded in numerous designs by French, German, but also British medallists.

Peter Kempson was a medallist in Birmingham at the latter end of the eighteenth century and the early nineteenth-century. There, in 1801, he entered into partnership with Samuel Kindon to run a die-sinking establishment, under the style of Kempson and Kindon. They employed the medallist and die-sinker John Gregory Hancock to cut “a series of medals commemorating the Victories of the British armies over Napoleon, the Union with Ireland, George III, and Statesmen of the time’. (Forrer, 1907, III, 141-143,161), While the Treaty of Lunéville does not constitute a British victory, it illustrates the British interest for Napoleon’s deeds on the continent, and shortly precedes Hancock’s 1802 commemorative medal of the Peace of Amiens. He signed his medals HANCOCK, I.G.HANCOCK, and occasionally I.G.H. (as here) or H. (Forrer, 1904, II, 410-412).

Descriptive line

Medal, bronze. Bust of Napoleon Bonaparte

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1886. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1887. pp.27-8
Millin de Grandmaison, Aubert Louis, and James Millingen, Medallic history of Napoleon. A collection of all the medals, coins, and jettons, relating to his actions and reign, from the year 1796 to 1815. London: printed for the editor, and sold by Rodwell and Martin, New Bond-Street. 1819, pp. 17-18, no. 45.
Bramsen, L., Médallier Napoléon Le Grand, ou description des médailles, clichés, repoussés et médailles décorations relatives aux affaires de la France pendant le Consulat et l'Empire…, 3 vols, Paris : Picard, Copenhague : Meyer, 1904-1913, vol. II, pp. 18-23, nos 104-139, esp. 115)
Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medallists…, 8 vols, London: Spink & Son, 1904-1930, vol. II pp. 410-412, vol. III pp. 141-143, 161).

Production Note

signed 'I.G.H' and 'K&K'

Materials

Bronze

Techniques

Struck

Subjects depicted

Military uniforms; Wreath

Categories

Sculpture; Portraits; Politics; Coins & Medals

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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