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Medal - François I, King of France

François I, King of France

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    1530-1538 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gebel, Matthes (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a pewter medal attributed to Matthes Gebel and was probably made in 1530 or 1538. The medal has only the obverse representing the bust of François I King of France facing right, bearded wearing a flat cap.

This medal is based on the stone model by Gebel. However, if differs from it in that François I's beard has been made more pointed. It is certainly unlikely that the portrait was done from the life. This version has a sharply defined hollow reverse, almost clear enough to cast duplicates of the obverse image. This medal was probably cast, although the precision of the image is similar to a struck medal. The reason for this exceptionally clear reverse is unknown; two medals in the Staaliche Münzsammlung in Munich exhibit the same feature: one in bronze, of Otto Heinrich attributed to Gebel, and one in pewter of Johann von Gutenberg Dean of Würzburg attributed to the anonymous Nuremberg master of 1526.

Gebel (ca. 1500-1574) who lived in Nuremberg was considered the most important medallist of his time. Also today he is considered as the most prolific medallist in Nuremberg of the Renaissance period. Habich ascribes 350 medals to him. They are almost all two-sided and thinly cast in silver, lead or bronze. He was friend of Albrecht Dürer and struck a famous medal of him in 1527. It shows Dürer with short hair. This medal portrait should become the definite portrait of Duerer in an advanced age for future generations.

Physical description

Obv. only, bust of François I facing right, bearded wearing a flat cap, and armour. Wreathed border.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


1530-1538 (made)


Gebel, Matthes (maker)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

'François by the grace of God King of France'


Diameter: 4.3 cm, Weight: 15.7 g

Object history note

Provenance: Tross. 140 medals and reliefs were purchased from M. Henri Tross of Paris for £500 by J.C. Robinson for the Museum in 1867.

Descriptive line

Medal, pewter, François I King of France, attributed to Matthes Gebel, Germany, probably 1530 or 1538

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

Trusted, Marjorie. German Renaissance Medals: a Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1990, p. 54
Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1867. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 17



Subjects depicted



Coins & Medals; Portraits


Sculpture Collection

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