- Museum number
Cast lead medal. (whole)
Bust of Theodore De Mayerne, right, long beard, in plain falling collar, doublet buttoned, and fur cloak. (obverse)
The different Hermetic symbols placed one above the other; viz. the philosopher's stone, the winged cap of Hermes (Mercury), the hexagram, often called Solomon's Seal, with sun in centre, and in angles of the two triangles the letters SIEIAY, and the serpent devouring its tail; above, clouds. (reverse)
- Production date
Thickness: 1.90 - 9 millimetres
Diameter: 90.000 millimetres
Weight: 205.43 grammes
- Curator's comments
Medallic Illustrations 1, published in 1885, states:
This medal is always cast. The device of the reverse is an allusion to the chemical attainments of this celebrated physician, inasmuch as it represents the symbols of Hermeticism, a branch of Freemasonry, which devoted itself to the study of the occult sciences, alchemy, &c. The four kings alluded to were Henry IV and Louis XIII of France, James I and Charles I of England.
Theodore Turquet de Mayerne was born at Geneva 1573; about 1598 he was made by Henry IV one of his physicians in ordinary. In 1611 he was invited to England by James I to serve as his first physician, a post which he occupied during the reign of Charles I. Charles II, on his father's death, appointed him to the same office. He died in London 1655, and was buried in the chancel of St. Giles-in-the-Fields. De Mayerne was probably a Mason, and a Member of the Hermetic Brotherhood. (See Wood's Athenæ, Granger, and Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting.) This is probably one of the earliest medals executed by Nicholas Briot in England, and it is dated in the year of his arrival here. After trying in vain to obtain the adoption of his more finished processes for striking coins, he left France for England, and he may have possibly been indebted to the good services of his countryman, De Mayerne, for being employed by the King.
See Pinkerton, J., 'The Medallic History of England to the Revolution', London, 1790 (fol.), xix. 4.
Briot's medal is earliest extant portrait of Mayerne (the next being Rubens' coloured drawing in the department of Prints and Drawings, registration no. 1860,0616.36).
The Hermetic symbols on the reverse refer to Mayerne's work. The legend is a quotation from Aeneid II, 777.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number
- C&M catalogue number
MB1 (Medallic Illustrations 1) (241) (8)
MF2 (Jones 2) (153) (123)