- Museum number
Silver medal. (whole)
Fame holding a trumpet, to which a flag with the arms of France is attached, driving a quadriga. Plenty with her cornucopia and Victory are seated beside her. (reverse)
Henri II, his left side armoured, his right bare, standing holding a sword in his right hand, a bow and a caduceus in his left. Victory and Peace hold a laurel crown above his head. (obverse)
- Production date
Diameter: 58.000 millimetres
Weight: 13.24 grammes
- Curator's comments
- Jones 1
(a) Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque Nationale, 58 rue de Richelieu, 75084 Paris, France, inv. no. 124, struck silver, 58 mm (later strike).
(b) Musée Monétaire, Paris (Mus. Mon., Paris), obv. puncheon, no. 15, c. 101 mm long.
(c) Mus. Mon., Paris, rev. puncheon, no. 16, c. 130 mm long.
(d) Mus. Mon., Paris, obv. die, no. 967, 68 x 68 mm, broken.
(e) Mus. Mon., Paris, rev. die, no. 968, 68 x 68 mm, broken.
This medal refers to the war between France and the Empire over the Duchies of Parma and Piacenza. France occupied Metz, Toul and Verdun, while in Italy Sienna ejected the Imperial troops and placed itself under French protection.
Mazerolle attributed the surviving obverse puncheon in the Musée Monétaire (see b) to Bechot on the grounds that it is stylistically similar to his coins. He went on to attribute the reverse found with it here and the obverse found with that reverse elsewhere (see registration no. 1931,0507.1) to Bechot on the grounds of 'similarity of module, relief and date'¹.
There are two problems with this attribution. The first is that it is very hard to distinguish the styles of different engravers in the coins of this period, indeed Mazerolle himself says, 'it would be difficult, in examining the testons and the demi-testons of Henri II, struck at the (Monnaie du) Moulin during the year when Jacques Beguin, Jean Erondelle and Etienne de Laune were Engravers, to distinguish the work of each one of them'². Certainly there is insufficient similarity between the only figure composition on a coin attributed to Bechot, showing Gallia seated holding Victory, and the obverse of this medal to provide any firm basis for an attribution. Where the other two designs attributed to him are concerned the evidence is equally flimsy. The obverse bust on registration no. 1931,0507.1 is, it is true, close to the portraits used on the coinage, but it would have been natural for any medallist to base his portrait on the official image propagated by the Tailleur General and the portrait is equally close to that found on medals (registration nos. G3,FrM.42, M.2178 and M.2179) attributed by Mazerolle to Delaune. The reverse design (quadriga) also shows a marked similarity to that of registration no. G3,FrM.42, attributed to Delaune, but none to any known work of Bechot.
The second problem concerns the date of the medal. It is generally agreed (see notes to G3,FrM.42) that no piece of this size and relief could have been struck at the Monnaie du Moulin in 1552 and that this and all other known pieces are latter re-strikes from 'restituted' dies. Mazerolle, however, asserts that the surviving puncheon for the obverse is contemporary and that it was used to produce a die which was found to be unusable. He also asserts that the relatively recent struck examples must be derived from lost, contemporary, cast versions. Examination of the surviving puncheons and dies, however, (see b-e) seems to show that they are all of about the same date and probably early 17th century. It therefore seems probable that the medal is a later 'restitution' related to Jones 1 cat. nos. 214-235.
The obverse seems to be based on a portrait in the Bibliothèque Nationale showing François I as a composite of Mars, Minerva, Diana, Mercury and Cupid.
¹Mazerolle I, p. XL.
²Mazerolle I, p. LII.
1. 'Inventaire des poinçons et coins', 1697, nos. 15 (obv. puncheon), 16 (rev. puncheon), 967 (obverse die) and 968 (reverse die). Both obverse and reverse are said to be for use with the obverse of registration no. 1931,0507.1.
2. Van Mieris III p. 314.
3. TN Méd. Fr. I pl. XIII no. 1 Reverse.
4. TN Méd. Fr. I pl. XIII no. 2 Reverse.
5. P. Charles Robert: 'Médailles commémoratives de la défense de Metz en 1552', Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Séance annuelle du 27 novembre 1874, Paris, p. 58 no. 2.
6. Mus. Mon. p. 4 nos. 12 (obverse) and 14 (reverse). Refers to an incomplete puncheon of the obverse and an incomplete die of the reverse.
7. Mazerolle I, pp. XXXIX-XL, II no. 90.
8. D. and E. Panofsky: 'Iconography of the galerie François I at Fontainebleau' 'GBA', 1958 p. 130-38.
9. J. Jacquiot: 'Médailles et jetons gravés en taille directe' in 'Les Graveurs d'acier et la médaille', Paris. No. 20.
- Not on display
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number
- C&M catalogue number
MF1 (Jones 1) (80) (62)