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Waterloo Medallion

  • Object:

    Medallion

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1817-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pistrucci, Benedetto, born 1784 - died 1855 (medallist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze electrotype of design

  • Museum number:

    7782-1862

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Waterloo Medallion is made by Pistrucci and is considered to be his masterpiece.
It took him more than 30 years to complete. The Duke of Wellington suggested that a medal should be struck to commemorate this important battle. Among other proposed designs Pistrucci's was selected. The story of the Battle of Waterloo is told through Pistrucci’s detailed and elaborate imagery. There is not a single legend used.

On the obverse are the busts of the Prince Regent George of Britain (later King George IV), Emperor Franz I of Austria, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, and Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, facing left. Around are allegorical scenes representing peace, peace which came out of the battle.
To the left is the constellation of Gemini referring to the month June when the battle took place. Left and right are the figures of Justice (Themis) and Might (Hercules). Hercules sits upon a rock above a cavern. Below Justice (Themis) are the godesses of destiny (the Fates) and below Hercules the godesses of vengeance (the Furies). Between them and at the bottom is the chariot of the goddess of Night (the mother of the Fates).

On the reverse of the medal (see 7783-1862) would be depicted the leaders of the battle, the Duke of Wellington and his ally the Prussian commander Gerhard von Blücher, represented as two horsemen. They are accompanied by Nike, the goddess of victory. Above is the chariot of Zeus and below are 12 figures with serpent legs, representing the 12 years of battle against Napoleon.

Physical description

This is the bronze electrotype of the design for the obverse of the Waterloo medallion and depicts the busts of the Prince Regent George of Britain (later King George IV), Emperor Franz I of Austria, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, and Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, facing left. Around are allegorical scenes representing peace. Apollo's chariot sits above and below them is the fleeing chariot of Night. To the right of Apollo are his companions, the goddess of the rainbow (Iris), and the god of the light wind (Zephyrus). To the left is the constellation of Gemini referring to the month June when the battle took place. Left and right are the figures of Justice (Themis) and Might (Hercules). Hercules sits upon a rock above a cavern. Below Justice (Themis) are the godesses of destiny (the Fates) and below Hercules the godesses of vengeance (the Furies). Between them and at the bottom is the chariot of the goddess of Night (the mother of the Fates).

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

1817-1850 (made)

Artist/maker

Pistrucci, Benedetto, born 1784 - died 1855 (medallist)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze electrotype of design

Dimensions

Diameter: 13.4 cm

Descriptive line

Medallion, bronze electrotype of design for obverse, 'Waterloo Medallion', by Benedetto Pistrucci, British, 1817-50

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

Beulah, G.K., 'Pistrucci's Great Waterloo Medal', The Medal, no. 7, winter 1985, pp.12-14

Materials

Bronze

Techniques

Electrotype

Subjects depicted

Cavern; Chariot; Rock

Categories

Coins & Medals; Myths & Legends; Medallions; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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