Collection online

medallion

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    WB.242

  • Description

    Circular medallion portrait bust (template for medal) in boxwood of John of Leyden, leader of the Anabaptists of Münster; in profile with short hair and beard, wearing a flat cap, and chain around his neck suspending an orb with three swords issuing from it; inscribed.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1535
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 5.1 centimetres
    • Depth: 0.6 centimetres
    • Weight: 5 grammes
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        reverse
      • Inscription Language

        German
      • Inscription Content

        IM IAR MCCCCCXXXIIII VF DEN ERSTEN DAG MARCY IST DIE STAT MV: STER IN WESTFALEN BELEGTR VND DVRCH GOTES HILFF VF DEN XXIIII DAG DES MONAT IVNY IM IAR XXXV EROBERT WORDEN.
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        obverse
      • Inscription Language

        German
      • Inscription Content

        IOHAN VON LEYDEN KONICK DER WIDDERDAVFFER ZV MVNSTER SEINS ALTERS IM . XXVI IAR
      • Inscription Comment

        Arranged in circular pattern
  • Curator's comments

    Provenance: Baron Anselm von Rothschild, Vienna, between 1866 and 1872 (cat no. 494).

    Commentary: 'Jan Bockelson, called Jan van Leyden (c.1509 - 1536) was the self-appointed leader of the Anabaptists, a radical religious sect based in Münster, which expelled all Catholics and Lutherans from the town and established a form of theocracy, with Bockelson calling himself King. Bockelson and his associates were executed in January 1536; the cages, in which their bodies were subsequently suspended from the tower of St Lambert's church in Münster, can still be seen today.' (From 2005 label for Heinrich Aldegrever portrait of Jan van Leyden, BM 1886,0609.38)

    The pendant suspended on a chain around Leiden's neck is an imperial orb pierced with two swords and surmounted by a cross, which was adopted by him for the arms of his kingdom, and also recorded in two contemporary depictions of him in the British Museum - 1886,0609.38 and 1868,0822.277. ( See J. Rowlands, 'Drawings by German Artists and Artists from German-speaking regions of Europe in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum: the Fifteeth Century, and the Sixteenth Century by Artists born before 1530', London, BM Press, 1993, no. 46.)

    According to Habich 1929-34 there is a bronze version of the medal in the Schloss Wolfegg.

    Bibliography: Charles Hercules Read, 'The Waddesdon Bequest: Catalogue of the Works of Art bequeathed to the British Museum by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild, M.P., 1898', London, 1902, no. 242, fig.38; O.M. Dalton, 'The Waddesdon Bequest', 2nd edn (rev), British Museum, London, 1927, no.242; Georg Habich, Die Deutschen Schaumünzen des XVI Jahrhunderts, F Bruckmann, 1929-1935, Vol. I, I no.295 fig.61, J.Warren, "Sculpture in the Waddesdon Bequest", in P.Shirley and D.Thornton, The Waddesdon Bequest, a new look, London 2017, p. 95.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Read 1902 242 bibliographic details
    • Dalton 1927 242 bibliographic details
    • Habich Vol. I, I no.295 fig.61 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G2a/dc17

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1898

  • Acquisition notes

    This collection is known as the Waddesdon Bequest under the terms of Baron Ferdinand Rothschild’s will.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    WB.242


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Object reference number: MCN2596

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