History of Henry Wellcome's unique collection, £19.99
Diameter: 54.000 mm
George III Collection
CM George III, English Medal AV 56
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
Struck gold medal for the recovery of George III by Lewis Pingo
London, AD 1789
The Madness of King George
By November 1788 most of his subjects believed their king, George III (reigned 1760-1820), to have gone mad. Apart from his physical symptoms, George suffered from prolonged bouts of delirium. Queen Charlotte was at first forced to seek refuge from her husband in a distant part of Windsor Castle before he was removed to Kew. His anger at this incarceration made his condition untreatable by his doctors and, in December, the Revd Francis Willis, who ran an insane asylum in Lincolnshire, was called in. From January 1789 the King's health gradually improved and Willis was credited with the cure. His illness has subsequently been diagnosed as porphyria.
On 23 April a service was held at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London to give thanks for his recovery as part of a day of celebration. It was attended, amid cheering crowds, by the King, the Queen and royal family, by both Houses of Parliament and the Corporation of London. The Society of Patrons of the Anniversary of the Charity Schools and 5000 children under their protection were also in the church. The Patrons decided to have medals by the Chief Engraver at the Royal Mint, Lewis Pingo (1743-1830), struck to commemorate both the renewed good health of the monarch and their part in its celebration. It was resolved to have a single example struck in gold, worth twenty guineas, as a gift for the Treasurer of the Society, though more may actually have been made. This piece comes from the King's own collection, part of the great gift of the King's Library to The British Museum by his son, George IV (reigned 1820-30).
L. Brown, A catalogue of British histori, 3 vols (London, Seaby, 1980-95)