- Museum number
Portrait medallion, black basalt (stoneware), moulded. oval with head in relief in profile to right of William Stukeley (1687-1765), physician and antiquary; legend impressed; integral moulded frame with moulded pattern.
- Production date
- 1773 (circa)
Length: 5.70 inches
- Curator's comments
Stukeley was one of the earliest of Wedgwood and Bentley's series of Moderns, which were ceramic substitutes for medals or ivory portraits.
This plaque is a fine example of the basalt series. Stukeley's name is not mentioned in the list given in the 1773 Catalogue; it first occurs in the fourth edition produced in 1777. Wedgwood's portrait is directly based on a gold medal of Stukeley issued at the time of his death showing him aged fifty-four years according to its inscription. [See C&M registration no. M.6569 for an example of this medal in bronze.] The reverse of the medal shows a view of Stonehenge, referring to Stukeley's research on this and other antiquities which was published in 1740. The inscription gives the date of his death, and his age as eighty-four - a-mistake, as he was in fact seventy-eight. Stukeley, a doctor of medicine, Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries, as well as Rector of the church in Queen's Square, not far from the site of the British Museum, where he is buried, was one of the greatest historian-antiquaries of his time. He was one of the earliest Trustees of the British Museum, being appointed in January 1753. Stukeley is depicted by the medallist in an idealised pose as a Roman emperor crowned with a laurel wreath, and Wedgwood clearly felt this representation was entirely suitable.
- On display (G1/fc5)
- Exhibition history
1996-1997 2 Oct-5 Jan, Leeds, City Art Gallery, David le Marchand 1674-1726 An Ingenious Man for carving in Ivory
1996 23 May-15 Sep, London, British Museum, David le Marchand 1674-1726 An Ingenious Man for carving in Ivory
1996 7 Mar-6 May, Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, David le Marchand 1674-1726 An Ingenious Man for carving in Ivory
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number