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Queen Victoria - Golden Jubilee of her Reign, official medal

  • Object:

    Medal q.victoria jubilee/britannia enthroned

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1887 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wyon, Leonard Charles, born 1826 - died 1891 (medallist)
    Boehm, Joseph Edgar Sir, born 1834 - died 1890 (modeller)
    Leighton, Frederic Lord, born 1830 - died 1896 (modeller)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze

  • Museum number:

    A.14-1976

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is the offical jubilee medal, made by L.C.Wyon after models by Sir J.E. Boehm and Sir F. Leighton, in 1887.
Although it was the official jubilee medal of which over 4,000 were struck in bronze between 1887 and 1889, this was very poorly received. The portrait of the Queen after a model from the life by Boehm, was generally disliked. Wyon used the same portrait for the obverse of the gold and silver jubilee coinage, but it was so unpopular that a new portrait was incorporated from 1893 onwards - also engraved by Wyon but after a portrait by Thomas Brock, R.A.
The medals housed in red leather cases were issued at the following prices: fine gold £13.13.0d; fine silver £2.2.0d; bronze 10/6d.

The jubilee was celebrated throughout the country. The festivities took many forms including local Fêtes, a yacht race round the island from Southend to Dover, bonfires, illuminations and a service of thanksgiving attended by the Queen at Westminster Abbey. The Queen also received 88,000 volunteers, the navy consisting of 135 vessels and 20,000 men. In Hyde Park a large number of poor school children gathered to watch balloons ascending and to receive gifts of bun, milk and a jubilee mug.

The original owner of these medals, Captain Fowke of the Royal Engineers, became a distinguished official architect in the middle of the Victorian era, and published a number of related papers. In 1857 he became an inspector in the Science and Art Department in London; in 1860 was added the office of architect and engineer; while in 1862 he was appointed Superintendent of the construction of the South Kensington (now Victoria and Albert) Museum. He designed the new Museum of Science and Art (now the Royal Scottish Museum) Edinburgh, as well as extensions at the National Gallery, Dublin. He planned the buildings for the International Exhibition of 1862. Shortly before his death he designed the Royal Albert Hall.

Physical description

Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria to left. She wears a cap, veil and coronet, the Order of the Garter and other decorations. Inscription.
Reverse: A crowned figure of Britannia, enthroned, holds an orb topped by a winged Victory and, in her other hand, a sword. Her lion is visible appearing from behind the throne. Five female figures representing Art, Science, Learning, Agriculture and Industry flank the throne. Mercury with his winged hat and Caduceus, reclines at the foot of the throne, offering Britannia a tribute of money. A Genius of Invention also sits at the foot of the throne with a winged wheel and holds aloft a shining light bulb. In the filed above Britannia two winged figures fly supporting wreaths enclosing the initials "VRI" and carrying shields with the dates "MDCCCXXXVII" and "MDCCCLXXXVII". Below are lozenges bearing the names of the continents. Signed. Inscription.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1887 (made)

Artist/maker

Wyon, Leonard Charles, born 1826 - died 1891 (medallist)
Boehm, Joseph Edgar Sir, born 1834 - died 1890 (modeller)
Leighton, Frederic Lord, born 1830 - died 1896 (modeller)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze

Marks and inscriptions

'VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX' / J.E.B.'
obverse

'MDCCCXXXVII' [and] 'MDCCCLXXXVII'
reverse on the shields

'VRI'
reverse, on wreaths

'ASIA AMERICA EUROPA AUSTRAL/ASIA AFRICA'
reverse, on lozenges

'F.L. / IN COMMEMORATION'
reverse

Dimensions

Diameter: 7.7 cm

Object history note

Given by Mr & Mrs Fowke Mangeot, in 1976. Formerly owned by Captain Francis Fowke, R.E.
This medal was one of seven of the collection (A.11 to A.17-1976) charting the career of Captain Fowke.

Historical significance: Although it was the official jubilee medal of which over 4000 were struck in bronze between 1887 and 1889, this was very poorly received. The portrait of the Queen after a model from the life by Boehm, was generally disliked. Wyon used the same portrait for the obverse of the gold and silver jubilee coinage, but it was so unpopular that a new portrait was incorporated from 1893 onwards - also engraved by Wyon but after a portrait by Thomas Brock, R.A.
The medals housed in red leather cases were issued at the following prices: fine gold £13.13.0d; fine silver £2.2.0d; bronze 10/6d.

Historical context note

The jubilee was celebrated throughout the country. The festivities took many forms including local Fêtes, a yacht race round the island from Southend to Dover, bonfires, illuminations and a service of thanksgiving attended by the Queen at Westminster Abbey. The Queen also received 88,000 volunteers, the navy consisting of 135 vessels and 20,000 men. In Hyde Park a large number of poor school children gathered to watch balloons ascending and to receive gifts of bun, milk and a jubilee mug.

Descriptive line

Medal, bronze, Queen Victoria - Golden Jubilee of her Reign, official medal, by L.C. Wyon after models by J.E. Boehn and F. Leighton, England, 1887

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

Brown, Lawrence. British Historical Medals 1837-1901 - The Reign of Queen Victoria. London: 1987, cat.no. 3219

Materials

Bronze

Subjects depicted

Female figure; Coronet; Lion; Bust; Crowned figure; Sword; Throne; Orb

Categories

Coins & Medals; Royalty; Portraits; Myths & Legends; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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