- Museum number
Cast silver medal. (whole)
Bust of Henri IV, right, in armour and wearing a sash. (obverse)
Two columns, entwined with laurel and palm branches, upholding the French crown. (reverse)
- Production date
Thickness: 0.90 - 3.10 millimetres
Diameter: 47.000 millimetres
Weight: 21.57 grammes
- Curator's comments
- Jones 2
There is a chronogram in the reverse legend - regIs saCra foeDera MagnI - MDCII or 1602.
The two columns may represent the Peace of Vervins and the Treaty with the Swiss, between them assuring the stability of Henri's reign.
Traditionally attributed to Philippe II Danfrie this medal, which is very finely cast, is much closer in technique to Dupré's work than to the Danfries' (which is normally struck and when cast is not up to the technical standards achieved by Dupré). The portrait of Henri, both in overall style and in detail (e.g. the wart to the left of his nose) is closer to Dupré's medal of 1603 (see registration no. G3,FrM.21) than to any work by the Danfries. Finally the diamond shaped stops on the obverse, used here to indicate abbreviation rather than for simply decorative effect, are characteristic of Dupré's work but absent from that of the Danfries.
According to P. Martin Rey (see 5) the reverse legend and composition are the invention of Pierre Mathieu, a Jesuit of Lyon who wrote a 'Histoire de France'. The gold is thought to have been mined in the parish of Saint-Martin-la-Plaine, near Rive-de-Gier in the Lyonnais. Colbert, who knew the medals, expounded the folly of the project to Perrault sixty years later (see 3).
These medals, in gold and with accompanying chains (worth 400 ecus for the ambassador of the thirteen cantons, and 300 and 200 ecus for the other allies), were presented by Henri to the forty-two ambassadors from the thirteen Swiss cantons and the Grisons (see 1).
The Schweizerisches Landes museum (see 9) also contains five silver examples with the legend EX ARGENTO instead of EX AURO. This indicates that silver examples with the legend EX AURO are later copies.
(a) Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque Nationale, 58 rue de Richelieu, 75084 Paris, France, Sér. Roy 320, cast and chased silver, 46 mm.
(b) Musée du Louvre, Paris 1e, France, MR356, cast gilt silver, 44 mm. Acquired from the Revoil coll., 1828. Poor cast.
(c) Sweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zurich, Switzerland, LM2891, cast gold, 44.8 mm, 39.7 gm.
(d) Zurich, GU2757, cast gold, 46.7 mm, 39.0 gm.
(e) Den kongelige Mont-og Medaillensamlung, Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen, K.P. II 467, bronze, 46 mm.
1. Scipion Dupleix, Histoire de Henry le Grand, Paris 1633, pp. 328-331.
2. J. de Bie, La France Métallique, pl. 94 no. 69 and pp. 282. Reverse illustrated with a date in the exergue, but described correctly in the text.
3. Perrault Mémoires p. 156.
4. Daniel Histoire de France XII p.429.
5. T.N. Méd. Fr. I pl. 31 no. 2.
6. P. Martin Rey, 'Sur une médaille d'or', RN 1850 pp. 287-296, no. 2.
7. Mazerolle II 281.
8. J. Fisher, Sculpture in miniature, no. 156 (silver, 46 mm).
9. G.F. Hill, Medals of the Renaissance, p. 145, pl. XXVI.
10. E. Gerber, Katalog der Medaillensammlung Zurich, no. 5.
11. G. Migeon, Catalogue des bronzes au Louvre no. 583.
12. Bank Leu, Zurich, 12 October 1983, lot 59, silver, 46.5 mm. Good aftercast.
- Not on display
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number
- C&M catalogue number
MF1 (Jones 1) (200) (194)
MF2 (Jones 2) (55) (12)