Conyers Middleton thumbnail 1
Conyers Middleton thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Conyers Middleton

Medallion
1724 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is an ivory version of a bronze medal by Giovanni Battista Pozzo (1670-1752), made in Rome in 1724. Conyers Middleton (1683-1750) was the first Chief Librarian of Cambridge University; on the reverse of this ivory medallion is a table with open books and bookshelves behind. Middleton commissioned the bronze medal when he was in Rome as a record of the eminence of Cambridge University and its library, having found that the Librarian of the Vatican assumed that Cambridge was only a school to prepare youths for Oxford. The subject was both a scholarly writer and a collector of antiquities, coins and gems. He was one of a circle of antiquarian visitors within the circle of Baron Philipp von Stosch (1691-1757), a resident of Rome, likewise a collector of gems, who had visited England in 1712, and who additionally acted as a spy for the British in Rome. Stosch may well have suggested Middleton should have his portrait carved in ivory by Pozzo.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Ivory, carved
Brief Description
Medallion, ivory, Conyers Middleton, by Giovanni Battista Pozzo, Italian (Rome), 1724
Physical Description




Dimensions
  • Diameter: 8.6cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'ACADEMIAE CANTABRIGIENSIS PROTO BIBLIOTHECARIUS'. (On reverse.)
Object history
Purchased from Mr M. Hakim in London for £4 4s., Leicester Square, in 1941.
Summary
This is an ivory version of a bronze medal by Giovanni Battista Pozzo (1670-1752), made in Rome in 1724. Conyers Middleton (1683-1750) was the first Chief Librarian of Cambridge University; on the reverse of this ivory medallion is a table with open books and bookshelves behind. Middleton commissioned the bronze medal when he was in Rome as a record of the eminence of Cambridge University and its library, having found that the Librarian of the Vatican assumed that Cambridge was only a school to prepare youths for Oxford. The subject was both a scholarly writer and a collector of antiquities, coins and gems. He was one of a circle of antiquarian visitors within the circle of Baron Philipp von Stosch (1691-1757), a resident of Rome, likewise a collector of gems, who had visited England in 1712, and who additionally acted as a spy for the British in Rome. Stosch may well have suggested Middleton should have his portrait carved in ivory by Pozzo.
Bibliographic References
  • Bowron, E.P and Rishel, J.J (eds.) Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000, p. 230
  • Vilbach, W.F. Catalogue of Ivories Berlin. Philipp von Stosch. 1928, p. 77
  • Nichols, J. Literary Anecdotes. V, p. 420
  • Forrer, L. Biographical Dictionary of Medallists. London: Royal Numismatic Society, IV, p. 681, VI, pp. 702-4, VIII, pp. 225-6
  • Theuerkauff, C. Die Bildwerke in Elfenbein des 16-19. Jahrhunderts Berlin, 1986, pp. 241-248
  • Hinton, J. 'Collecting Roman Medals. Anthony Morris Clark and the Philadelphia Museum of Art', The Medal Autumn 2005, no. 47, fig. 4 on p. 17 and p. 16
  • Scott, J. The Pleasures of Antiquity British Collectors of Greece and Rome. London, 2003, p. 61 and note 16 on p. 295
  • Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 301, pp. 306, 7
Collection
Accession Number
A.16-1941

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record createdJanuary 12, 2004
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