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portrait medallion

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1887,0307,I.70

  • Description

    Portrait medallion, jasper ware (stoneware) with dipped pale blue, oval, with applied moulded white jasper ware bust in relief in profile to right of Captain James Cook, circumnavigator; legend impressed; gilt metal frame with suspension loop Marked.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1784 (modelled)
  • Production place

    • Factory in: Etruria term details
    • (Europe,United Kingdom,England,Staffordshire,Stoke-on-Trent,Etruria (England))
  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 4.1 inches
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        maker's mark
      • Inscription Position

        reverse
      • Inscription Content

        WEDGWOOD
      • Inscription Comment

        impressed
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        obverse
      • Inscription Content

        CAPTN COOK
      • Inscription Comment

        impressed
  • Curator's comments

    Dawson 1984
    This is one of two remarkable portraits of Captain James Cook (1729-79) were produced by Wedgwood, and both are represented in the British Museum collection.
    This is the later portrait, which shows Cook in profile. It was probably adapted from a medal by Lewis Pingo struck in 1779 for the Royal Society. [The portrait is reversed from the medal in C&M, M.4837.] An unsigned wax of this portrait attributed to Flaxman is in a private collection. A bill dated 24 January 1784 (E.2-1339) records that Wedgwood paid Flaxman two guineas for 'A Model in wax of Capt:n Cook' but it is not known for certain to which of the two Cook portraits this wax refers.
    The profile portrait is far more formal and severe than the earlier version. The latter is a more pleasing work as the shape of the relief is well-proportioned to its ground and it has been produced with an especially refined edge. The earlier plaque is formed of solid grey jasper, the surface of the medallion surrounding the relief head has been washed mid-blue, with a dark blue line painted around the centre of the edge so that the grey area nearest the ground of the portrait has the effect of setting off the head of the sitter. This decorative effect, which can be detected in the illustration, seems to be restricted to medallions produced during the Wedgwood and Bentley partnership.

    See registration no. 1887,0307,I.71 for the earlier portrait.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Hobson 1903 I70 bibliographic details
    • Dawson 1984 p. 76, fig. 61 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G46/dc18/p3/no37

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1887

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1887,0307,I.70

Portrait medallion, jasper ware (stoneware) oval cameo; white relief bust in profile to right of Captain James Cook, circumnavigator; moulded and applied to pale blue jasper dip ground; legend impressed; gilt metal frame.

Portrait medallion, jasper ware (stoneware) oval cameo; white relief bust in profile to right of Captain James Cook, circumnavigator; moulded and applied to pale blue jasper dip ground; legend impressed; gilt metal frame.

Reproduced by permission of the artist. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description

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Object reference number: MCN11042

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