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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast bronze, leather lined with silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs G. Wraith

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type

Five different official medals were produced in bronze for the Great Exhibition. The Council medal, Prize medal and Jurors medal were the main awards, while the Exhibitors and For Services medals were less prestigious.

This is the Exhibitors medal that was designed by William Wyon (1795-1851), Chief Engraver at the Royal Mint at the time of the Exhibition. The obverse (or front) has a portrait of Prince Albert who was President of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition. The reverse has a terrestrial globe, with a dove resting on the top, and an inscription. There were nearly 14,000 exhibitors in the Exhibition, and each received a medal like this, along with a certificate and a copy of the reports of the juries.


Miss Sarah Ann Cunliffe, Inventor, of Saffron Walden was awarded this medal for her 'Infant's knitted robe'. She did not win any special prize but her work had been selected from among the many thousands submitted for display.

Materials & Making

The medal was struck from a die. In this method, metal blanks were placed between two hardened-steel dies which were then hit with great force. On impact, the softer bronze 'flowed' into all the hollows and spaces in the die. This technique produced finished medals in huge numbers with hardly any loss of detail or clarity. The original dies for the Great Exhibition medals came to light some years ago in the stores of the V&A and are now on display in Gallery 64.

Physical description

Cast bronze medal and leather box lined with silk.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cast bronze, leather lined with silk

Object history note

This bronze medal was awarded for the whitework shirt (T.47-1952). It originally came in a circular bronze frame (now NIP) bearing the words 'Honourable Mention'.Awarded at the Great Exhibition of 1851, Class XX (No. 22).

A printed label, possibly part of this box, found in 110 store in 120A

Descriptive line

Cast bronze medal and leather box lined with silk, Great Britain, ca. 1850

Labels and date


Dress shirts of this period were often enriched with fine embroidery. The official catalogue of the Exhibition described this as a shirt of peculiar construction. This may refer to the holes for the studs, a relatively new invention. The company that made this shirt was awarded a bronze medal in it's class. [27/03/2003]


British Galleries; Coins & Medals; Great Exhibition; Children's clothes


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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