World_Coin_Nut's Blog

05 Oct 2020

Joshua Reynolds Medal

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Sir Joshua Reynolds (July 16, 1723 – February 23, 1792) was an English painter specializing in portraits. John Russell said he was one of the major European painters of the 18th century. He promoted the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on the idealization of the imperfect. He was a founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts and was knighted by George III in 1769.

Another title he achieved was Principal Painter in Ordinary to King George III. A title that he achieved more by threats than talent.

Obverse: Bust of Sir Joshua Reynolds left, palette and brushes below, “REYNOLDS “behind. “STOTHARD” on truncation of bust.

Reverse: Mythological view of the infant Hercules strangling two snakes at center, “ART UNION OF LONDON “above, “1845“ below. “STOTHARD F.“ at rim, 7:00.

Diameter: 58mm

Below is from a listing for the medal. I have not been able to confirm the mintage of 40 pieces.

“ The planning of a series of medals by the Art Union of London dated back to 1842. The first medal in the series was intended to commemorate Sir Francis Chantrey (1781-1841) and to be issued in 1845, but a problem with dies cracking in the hardening process delayed its production until 1846. In its stead, the Joshua Reynolds medal became the first in the series to be issued to subscribers from April 1845. Only 40 struck of the last. “

The Royal Academy of Arts is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London. Founded in 1768, it has a unique position as an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects. Its purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment, and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education, and debate. It is an organization that is still active today.

One of the things that I really like about medals is that they create the opportunity to learn. I had never heard of Joshua Reynolds before seeing this medal. I encourage you to research him on your own. He was obviously an immensely talented painter.

The last picture is one of his portraits.The Age of Innocence by Joshua Reynolds c.1788



Level 5

Medals tell stories when coins and currency just are not enough.


Level 5

Great medal and what a great artist. Wish I could paint like the master painters. What a rare medal also, with only 40 minted. I would think they are very hard to come across. I have really become interested in medals this year and own a few now. Always fun to look for medals.


Level 5

The medal and your description of it are very interesting. I learn something new every day. The painting you picture is absolutely captivating. Hercules has a way of showing up in the oddest of places!

It's Mokie

Level 6

I have become more enamored of medals with every passing day and I blame this site and all you wonderful medal collectors showing off your beautiful collections. Thanks for sharing your beautiful medal, the subject is wonderful and the patina is outstanding.


Level 6

That is a beautiful medal. What a great pick up. Only 40, wow!! Nice blog, I will be researching the artist Reynolds. Thanks.


Level 6

Beautiful Medal and portrait! I love these classical designs. That little baby holding the snakes is really cool... Reminds me of my husband when he was a little boy to present day... He is an avid reptile guy ; ) haha Great blog!


Level 5

Love the medal and the history behind it! Cheers, NM


Level 7

There is nothing I can say. The medal says it all. Your eye for classic medals coins and tokens always comes through. That's for the wonderful history. I enjoyed it.


Level 5

Always liked the "Age of Innocence", it's hanging in the Tate. I think it's should be in the top 10 of it's day. Nice Blog. Thanks!


Level 6

Just stunning!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Thanks for broadening my education with another interesting blog. Babies holding serpents though is pretty scary stuff, even on a medal!


Level 5

I hate snakes and those 2 look particularly fearsome.

It is always a pleasure to see other artists use their own style to depict another artist from a different medium. He had a very successful year, and if only 40 pieces exist, you have a great medal on your hands.

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