Engravings of Dassier's Medals of the Sovereigns of England
[NUMISMATICS]. [DASSIER, Jean]. [An Explanation of Dassier's Medals of the Sovereigns of England]. [N.p.: n.d., ca. 1797].
Blank book with mounted engravings of thirty-three medals, including thirty-one medals by Jean Dassier of the Sovereigns of England from William I to George II, including Oliver Cromwell (without the medals of the medals for Richard III, Henry VII, and Henry VIII), as well as medals of George III (by Lewis Pingo) and Queen Charlotte (by John Kirk). Twelvemo (6 3/8 x 3 3/4 inches; 162 x 95 mm.).  leaves, each with two mounted engravings showing the recto and verso of a medal. Each leaf separated by a guard leaf.
Bound in late eighteenth-century full red roan. Covers with gilt single fillet border, smooth spine ruled in gilt, board edges and turn-ins decoratively tooled in gilt, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Spine, corners, and board edges rubbed. A few areas of slight discoloration on covers. Pencilled annotations on verso of one leaf. An excellent copy.
The engravings are most likely cut from An Explanation of Dassier's Medals of the Sovereigns of England, a series of six engraved plates of the Kings and Queens of England, by Pye, c. 1773, the final plate with additional medals of George III and Queen Charlotte, followed by 7 pp. of explanatory text, reduced landscape folio. "The additional medals chosen are interesting, the first the undated medal of George III, by Lewis Pingo. Eimer [Pingo, 54], dates the medal to c. 1775, when the medal was exhibited at the Free Society of Artists. Stainton (private notes) believed it to have been used by the Welch Society. However it is catalogued by Brown [BHM 265], following Col. Grant's lead, as "American Independence", and placed ten years later in 1785. The second medal is John Kirk's medal of Queen Charlotte, for the founding of the Medical Society of London in 1773 [BHM 184]. It would seem logical to date the book to 1773-1776" (Coin Archive).
A complete listing of the engravings is available upon request.
Swiss medallist Jean (John) Dassier (1676-1763) "trained under his father Domaine Dassier (1641Ė1719), chief engraver at the Geneva Mint, and studied in Paris under Jean Mauger and Joseph Roettier. From 1711 he was assistant engraver at the Geneva Mint and in 1720 succeeded his father as chief engraver, a post he held until his death. Around 1720 he designed and executed his first series of medals: those of French monarchs (72 medals) and religious reformers (around 24). In 1728 he visited England, where he refused the offer of a position at the Royal Mint. In 1731 he issued a series of medals dedicated to George II, depicting British sovereigns from William I to George II. This consisted of 35 medals available in gold, silver and bronze, some of which were damascened. He was joined in this project by his second son, and the medals are described in his A Sett of Medals of all the Kings of England (London, 1731) and An Explanation of the Medals of the English Monarchs Engraved by John Dassier and Son (Birmingham, 1731)" (Grove Art Online).
"Having being presented to Queen Caroline, perhaps through the good offices of Wake, Dassier set out proposals for a set of thirty-three medals of English sovereigns from William I to George II, to whom the series was dedicated. Based on engravings by George Vertue for Paul Rapin de Thoyras's History of England, these were advertised in the prospectus published in 1730 for purchase by subscription at 6 guineas for sets in copper and at 15 guineas for silver. During his second stay in England Dassier also planned, according to Vertue, to engrave many remarkable persons noted for great Actions in the government of this nation in Times passd. and learned men of all degrees lately or formerly or of the present time which he proposes to grave at his own expence. (Vertue, Note books, 3.51Ė2). Medals of Milton, Bacon, and Selden were included in this set. Together these two medallic series belong to those series of historicizing portraits in different media that were being formulated at Stowe and elsewhere during the 1730s to represent figures from the national past" (ODNB).
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