Celebrating the British Museum: John Maine's anniversary medal
15 January – 15 June 2003
The British Museum, founded in 1753, celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2003. As part of its anniversary celebrations, the Museum has commissioned a medal to commemorate this historic occasion. This medal, by the distinguished British sculptor and Royal Academician John Maine, forms the centrepiece of this exhibition. John Maine's medal design was selected from drawings submitted by four contemporary British artists in a competition organised by the British Museum. The designs of the other three artists, Stephen Cox, Cathy de Monchaux and Tom Phillips, RA, also feature in this exhibition.
The square, the circle and the triangle of John Maine's anniversary medal suggest the simple geometry underpinning the culturally diverse objects within the collections of the museum. On one side the implied cubic form encircled by the border of the medal evokes an object within the Museum's care; such objects have been at the core of the Museum's activities for two hundred and fifty years. On the other side an allusion to the spectacular roof of the Great Court points to the present and future of the Museum.