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An Essay on the Roman Denarius,
and English Silver Penny.
(A List of Medal Engravers)

by William Till, 1837

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Having given the names of the collectors of medals, the engravers of them may probably consider they have a claim on our notice. The chief of these is Mr. Wm. Wyon of the Royal Mint. His medals of William IV. and his queen, as well as of the young princess Victoria, for fidelity of portrait and masterly execution, cannot be surpassed. Many of his medals, likewise, of private individuals, are splendid specimens of his art. In his figures he has recently made rapid strides towards perfection. Mons. J. B. Merlen, also of the Mint, has produced some exquisite gems; witness those minute medalets struck in gold, bearing a head of George IV., and which are termed medallic gems. This artist, I understand, engraved some of those splendid reverses on the coins of George IV. and William IV. on which we observe drapery very similar to the Italian coins of Napoleon. Mr. Pistrucci is not seen to that advantage as an engraver of medals (particularly large ones) which probably as an artist he is entitled to; but as a gem engraver it appears he stands almost unrivalled; indeed, this branch of the profession he followed previously to his coming to England, and to it I should recommend him to return, as I trust we are not un-English enough to prefer the labours of a foreigner, however reputable he may be, to those of a superior artist, and that artist a native. A rumour is afloat that this gentleman is engaged on a medallion commemorative of the battle of Waterloo, by which all previous medals will be eclipsed, and that he has received for the same a large sum on account; still the medal is not completed, although doubtless, for his own credit sake, he will use every exertion to accomplish the work, and fulfil his compact with the nation which has treated him with so much indulgence, and so liberally rewarded him in preference to one of her own children.

I have seen some very good medals which were executed by Mr. Benjamin Wyon, as well as by Mr. Scipio Clint, a pupil of the late Mr. Milton. A young man of the name of Thos. Pinches, (a nephew of Taylor, of Litchfield Street, Soho) lately imported from that mart of industry and the school of our die-sinkers, Birmingham, will, if I mistake not, be heard of as a first-rate engraver of heads; and if his future works answer the promises of those which he has already executed, nothing can prevent him from attaining to the highest pitch of excellence. As to Mr. Taylor himself, it is unnecessary for me to say any thing further, having already mentioned him as an artist of great talent, both as a medal and seal engraver.

Most of our medals emanate from Birmingham, but they are not generally calculated to surprise by their masterly performance. Still it is but justice to state, that the late gifted Thomas Wyon, and the present family of that name, were originally of that place, as well as the majority of our artists in the die-sinking department.


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