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Medal - General Monk
  • General Monk
    Simon, Thomas, born 1618 - died 1665
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General Monk

  • Object:

    Medal

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1660 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Simon, Thomas, born 1618 - died 1665 (cast)
    Simon, Abraham, born 1617 - died 1692 (modelled)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast gold

  • Museum number:

    816-1904

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case 14

Object Type
The medal was intended to be distributed to the friends and supporters of General Monck. It is signed and dated 1660, the year of the Restoration of Charles II. One side shows General Monck facing right, the other has a commemorative inscription.

People
General George Monck (1608-1670) at first supported Charles I, but then fought for Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War. At the end of the Protectorate, he played an important role in the restoration of Charles II and was created Duke of Albemarle.

Materials & Making
This medal was cast in gold after a wax model. A cast (probably in plaster) would have been taken from the original wax model. This in turn would be used to make a plaster mould. Molten gold would be poured into the mould to make a series of medals.

Physical description

Medal depicts on the obverse General Monk, bust to right, hair long, curling, in plain falling collar, armour, and scarf across the breast. Rev.: GEORGIVS MONKE . OMNIVM . COPIARVM . IN . ANGLIA SCOTIA . ET . HIBERNIA DVX . SVPREMVS . ET THALASSIARCHA ÆTA : 52 . 1660.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1660 (made)

Artist/maker

Simon, Thomas, born 1618 - died 1665 (cast)
Simon, Abraham, born 1617 - died 1692 (modelled)

Materials and Techniques

Cast gold

Marks and inscriptions

'GEORGIVS MONKE . OMNIVM . COPIARVM . IN . ANGLIA SCOTIA . ET . HIBERNIA DVX . SVPREMVS . ET THALASSIARCHA ÆTA : 52 . 1660.'
'Supreme leader and naval commander of all the forces in England, Scotland and Ireland, aged 52'
verso; inscribed

'T.S.'
Thomas Simon
signed on the truncation

Dimensions

Depth: 0.4 cm, Diameter: 3.5 cm

Object history note

Bought, £106. 1s.

Historical context note

The two brothers, Abraham Simon (b London, 1617; d ?1692) and Thomas Simon (b London, 1618; d London, 1665), were among the most outstanding medallists of English birth before the 19th century. Abraham worked for Queen Christina of Sweden and in Holland before returning to England ca. 1643. He was a skillful wax-modeller, as revealed by his self-portrait in that medium (London, BM).
In 1645 he was appointed jointly with his brother Engraver of Coins and Seals at the Royal Mint. From around this time they produced many cast and chased portrait medals of distinguished contemporaries. According to Vertue (1780), the medals were cast from Abraham's wax portraits; they were then chased and often signed by Thomas. However, the possibility that Abraham's role also included casting and chasing is suggested by the appearance of his initials on some of the medals. Moreover, as Thomas was an ardent Parliamentarian, it is unlikely that he was involved in the production of those medals that portray noted Royalists.
Many of the medals thought to be collaborative efforts are of a particular size; they have no legend accompanying the portrait on the obverse, and a reverse consisting solely of a horizontally placed inscription. The earliest of these are either unsigned or signed by Abraham. Signed examples include the medals of John Campbell of Lawers, 1st Earl of Loudoun and William Pope (both 1645) and those of Albert Joachim, Sir Sydenham Poyntz and John Maitland, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline and Charles Seton, 2nd Earl of Lauderdale (all 1646).
Abraham continued working throughout the period of the Commonwealth: he produced a medallic portrait of Henry Cromwell in 1654. After the Restoration, he modelled a wax portrait of Charles II, but his personality became increasingly difficult, and, failing to obtain commissions, he ended his days in obscurity.

Philip Attwood: "Simon" Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press, 05/09/2005, http://www.groveart.com/

Descriptive line

Medal, gold, depicting General Monck, cast by Thomas Simon after a model by Abraham Simon, London, 1660

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

Inventory of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1903 - 1904. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1904, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Wyman and Sons, Limited, 1908, p. 138

Labels and date

British Galleries:
General George Monck (1608-1670) played an important part as head of the English army and navy, in restoring Charles II to the throne. Portrait medals could be commissioned by those they celebrated, or by their supporters. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Gold

Techniques

Casting

Categories

Metalwork; Coins & Medals; Portraits; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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