1887 Victoria Large Silver Golden Jubilee Medal
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Left-facing portrait of Queen Victoria wearing small crown, decorations and long lace veil. Signed ‘J.E.B.’ to truncation for Joseph Edgar Boehm.
Enthroned figure to center, Mercury below, standing figures representing Science, Letters, Art, Industry, and Agriculture to either side, shields below, and cherubs above. ‘COMMEMORATION’ at the top.
77-millimetre silver official medal in original box of issue from The Royal Mint.
Who was Joseph Edgar Boehm?
Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Baronet, RA (1834-1890) was an Austrian sculptor and medallist who studied in Vienna before settling in London in 1862, becoming a British subject in 1865. He was renowned for his portrait busts of eminent Victorians, as well as his work for the royal family, totalling some 40 commissions. Boehm won several commissions tied to Queen Victoria's 1887 Golden Jubilee, including medals and a new coin portrait which would become known as the Jubilee Head. The design was severely criticised and quickly replaced, not long after the artist’s sudden death in 1890.
Frederick Leighton and the Royal Mint
In 1892 the Chancellor of the Exchequer convened a committee to assess new coinage designs, seeking to correct issues that had arisen with the Jubilee coinage, issued in 1887. Among the members of the committee was Sir Frederick Leighton (1830-1896), the popular British painter, then president of the Royal Academy. Leighton had a direct hand in official medals issued to mark the Golden Jubilee and would approve of the new portrait of Queen Victoria, chosen to replace the one introduced in 1887. Leighton and the committee selected a veiled portrait by Thomas Brock from a choice of seven designs. This would become known as the Widowed Head and can be seen on coinage minted between 1893 and the end of Victoria's reign.
This medal was also issued in bronze: 1887 Victoria Large Bronze Golden Jubilee Medal.
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