Friday 9 October 2015

Mr Langley's Artificial Stone

Batty Langley and his Artificial Stone. 1731.

Daily Journal (London, England), Friday, March 26, 1731; Issue 3189.

Batty Langley (1696–1751).
 A man of many parts, son of Daniel and Elizabeth Langley, he was born at Twickenham in Middlesex, and baptised at the parish church on 14 Sept. 1696 (parish reg. at Twickenham). His father was a gardener in the neighbourhood, and he seems first to have occupied himself as a landscape gardener (see Langley, Practical Geometry, p. 35). He resided first at Twickenham, removed to Parliament Stairs, Westminster, about 1736, and to Meard's Court, Dean Street, Soho, with his brother Thomas about 1740. His taste in architectural design has been much derided in the past particularly by George Vertue and repeated by Horace Walpole.
An architect and writer, he is best known for his numerous manuals and pattern books for artisans and craftsmen. He also manufactured statues, busts and architectural ornaments in an artificial stone and provided designs for the pediment as part of his architectural scheme for London’s new Mansion House.

 Langley was evidently making artificial stone before 1730 for he staged a demonstration in London on 11 November 1729, when a comparison was made between the weight-bearing capacity of his product and natural Portland stone. It was reported in the Northampton Mercury that the Portland stone broke when the weight placed on it exceeded 168 lbs, whilst Langley's formidable artificial stone only collapsed when the weight was increased to 276 lbs. Vertue described Langley’s product as ‘a New invention of casting in stone or a hard composition - busts, statues, columns &c. or any frize or cornish workes for building. in immitation of free stone. & said to be more durable ... made near Lambeth and sold by one Batty Langley’, whom he described disparagingly as ‘a bold face undertaker’ (Vertue III, 51). The material may not indeed have been of Langley’s own invention since a similar substance had been patented by Richard Holt in 1722 and Holt maintained that Langley obtained the formula by foul means.

 During the spring and summer of 1731 Langley advertised that ‘Sculptured or Carved Ornaments’, including statues, busts, ‘all manner of curious Vases, Urns, Pine Apples, Pedestals for Sundials, Balustrades, Key-Stones to the Arches of Windows and Doors, Bases and Capital for Piers of Gates, Columns and Pilasters’ were available from his warehouse at ‘the Hercules Head, near the Faulcon-Stairs on the Bank-side in Southwark’ (Daily Ad, 25 May-6 July 1731). Holt retaliated with a notice stating that ‘it appears from three several Affidavits, how and by what means [Langley] has come at any Insight into the Art of making Artificial Stone; and how very defective and short of Holt’s true Secret, his Discoveries (by tampering with Workmen) must needs be’ (Daily Ad, 28 May-1 June 1731). None of Langley’s artificial stone products have been identified and no information about the composition has been discovered but it is possible that a fired clay portrait medallion of Sir Isaac Newton, formerly in Langley’s possession, is one of his products (BM MLA SL 1984). If so, Langley’s material was not strictly an artificial stone and was not related to the formulae developed by Holt or the Coade Factory since it contained neither lead nor glass.

 Langley was one of the architects who unsuccessfully entered the competition to design a new Mansion House for the City of London in 1735-37. He was apparently the only architect to include a design for the pediment, depicting Britannia with the Arms of the City, attended by numerous allegorical figures. The architect George Dance the Elder won the competition and the tympanum sculpture was executed by Sir Robert Taylor.

Rupert Gunnis notes payments for work supplied to Lord Folkestone at Longford Castle by ‘Langley’, some of them paid for seven years after Batty Langley’s death, and he suggests that either the business was carried on after his demise or that there were two Langleys (see below for details of his brother Thomas). The items included a sundial, for which Folkestone paid £1 13s in 1748, carved capitals at £10 15s 6d (1757), ‘stucco ornaments to ye Venetian seat’ at 7 guineas (1758), four shields on gate piers at 12 guineas (1758) and a carved head in the passage at £4 12s 6d (1758).

 Literary References: Esdaile 1940 (2), 95; Gunnis 1968, 233; Valpy 1986, 206-9; Kelly 1990, 32-3; Colvin 1995, 597-8; Grove 18, 1996, 742-3 (White); Dawson 1999, 154-6; Ward-Jackson 2003, 239-40; ODNB (Harris)
Engraving: Langley’s design for the Mansion House pediment, Guildhall Lib Print Room, cat q6918957
His numerous publications include:

1: 'An Accurate Account of Newgate ... together with a faithful account of the Impositions of Bailiffs ... by B. L. of Twickenham,' 1724.

2. 'Practical Geometry applied to ... Building, Surveying, Gardening, and Mensuration,' London, 1726, 1728, 1729.

3. 'The Builder's Chest Book, or a Compleat Key to the Five Orders of Columns in Architecture,' London, 1727 (in dialogue form).

4. 'New Principles of Gardening. ... With Experimental Directions for raising the several kinds of Fruit Trees, Forest Trees, Ever-greens, and Flowering Shrubs,' &c., London, 1728. Langley denounced the practice of mutilating the natural shapes of trees.

5. 'A Sure Method of Improving Estates by Plantations of Oak, Elm, Ash, Beech, &c.,' London, 1728; republished in 1741 as 'The Landed Gentleman's Useful Companion.'

6. 'A Sure Guide to Builders, or the Principles and Practice of Architecture Geometrically Demonstrated,' London, 1729.

7. 'Pomona, or the Fruit Garden Illustrated,' London, 1729. Many of the plates were drawn by himself.

8. 'The Young Builder's Rudiments,' London, 1730, 1736. 9. 'Ancient Masonry, both in the theory and Practice,' London, 1734 or 1735, 1736. This elaborate work contains short descriptions of the 466 plates, with examples from Alberti, Palladio, C. Wren, Inigo Jones, and others. Plates cccix. and cccx. in vol. ii. illustrate an 'English order' composed by Langley.

10. 'A Design for the Bridge at New Palace Yard, Westminster,' London, 1736.

11. 'A Reply to Mr. John James's Review of the several Pamphlets and Schemes ... for the Building of a Bridge at Westminster,' London, 1737.

12. 'The Builders Compleat Assistant,' 2nd edit. London, (1738?); a 4th edit, appeared after 1788.

13. 'The City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury of Designs,' London, 1740 (fourteen plates were added in 1741), 1750, and again in 1756.

14. 'The Builder's Jewel, or the Youth's Instructor and Workman's Remembrancer,' London, 1741, 1757; 11th edit. 1735, 1787, 1808.

15. 'Ancient Architecture, restored and improved, by a great variety of Grand and Useful Designs' (1st part), London, plates dated 1741. The whole work, with a dissertation 'On the Ancient Buildings in this Kingdom,' and entitled 'Gothic Architecture,' 1747. Some examples of these 'Gothic orders of my own invention' were actually erected by Langley in London. The original drawings for the work are preserved in Sir John Soane's Museum.

16. 'The Measurer's Jewell,' London, 1742.

17. 'The Present State of Westminster Bridge,' London, 1743.

18. 'Plan of Windsor Castle,' London, 1743.

19. 'The Builder's Director, or Bench-Mate,' London, 1746, 1751, 1767.

20. 'A Survey of Westminster Bridge, as 'tis now Sinking into Ruin,' London, 1748.

21. 'The Workman's Golden Rule for Drawing and Working the Five Orders in Architecture,' London 1757.

Batty Langley
Mezzotint by J. Carwitham1741.
265 x 190 mm.

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Thomas Langley (fl. 1745), engraver of antiquities, &c., brother of the above, was born at Twickenham in March 1702, and for some years of his life resided at Salisbury. He engraved 'A Plan of St. Thomas's Church in the City of New Sarum,' north-west and south-east views of the church drawn by John Lyons, 1745, and 'The Sacrifice of Matthews to Jupiter,' drawn by Lyons, 1752. He both drew and engraved many of the plates for his brother's books, and taught architectural drawing to his pupils.

For a serious in depth study of Batty Langley see :

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Bust of Anne of Austria from Castle Howard

A Marble Bust 
Traditionally Known as Anne of Austria (1601 - 66).
Anonymous. circa 1650.
From the Castle Howard Collection.
Sold Sotheby's 8 July 2015.

Wife of Louis XIII, mother of Louis XIV.

Described by Sotheby's as Franco Flemish.

For Sotheby's Catalogue entry see -

Anne of Austria,
Mother of Louis XIV.
White Marble on Grey Marble Socle - 29" tall overall.
Sold Sotheby's, Lot 18, 8th July 2015.

Provenance: Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748-1825), Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, c. 1805; thence by family descent.

Excerpt from the Sotheby's Catalogue.


Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748-1825), Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, c. 1805;
thence by family descent


Castle Howard Archives, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, MS Listing of Sculptures, c. 1805, p.14, no.162, 'Anne of Austria';

Castle Howard Archives, MS Listing, c. 1815, p.5, Busts in the New Passage, [Antique Passage], 'Anne of Austria';

Castle Howard Archives, MS 5th Earl Probate Inventory, p.35, White Passage in the Main House [Antique passage], 'Anne of Austria';

Castle Howard Archives, MS 6th Earl Probate Inventory, 1849, p.145, Front Hall and Passages, 'Busts of Ann of Austria upon a Pedestal';

Castle Howard Archives, MS 7th Earl Probate Inventory, 1865, p.207, no.100, Grecian Hall Staircase, 'Marble Bust Ann of Austria on covered pedestal';

Castle Howard Archives, MS Duthie Sculpture Catalogue, 1882, p.19, no.113, Passage at back of Drawing foot of large staircase, 'Bust of Ann of Austria'

The bust is first mentioned as being at Castle Howard by the 5th Earl in his 1805 Listing of Sculptures (op. cit.). This reference is highly significant for the reason that the 5th Earl famously acquired pictures from the Orléans collection in 1798, which were subsequently displayed in the Orléans Room. 

The Orleans collection had been amassed principally by Anne of Austria’s grandson, Philippe II, duc d’Orléans (1674-1723), and it had, until the Revolution, been housed in the Palais Royal, the queen’s residence after it had been gifted to her husband by Cardinal Richelieu upon his death in 1642. 

Lord Carlisle would consequently have been all too aware of the significance of possessing a bust of Anne of Austria, and it seems likely, given its absence in earlier inventories, that the marble was acquired because of the sitter’s identity and her relevance to the collection. 

This hypothesis is given credence by the presence of a miniature depicting Anne of Austria in the collection (now no longer in the collection; Hawkesbury, op. cit., p. 21, no. 26). 

Lord Carlisle did not acquire the bust at the 1798 Orléans sale, since pictures only were included in the sale. He must, therefore, have purchased it subsequently.


Lord Hawkesbury, Catalogue of the Portraits, Miniatures, &c., at Castle Howard, The Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society for the Year Ending October 1903, XI, 1904, p. 21, no. 26; 

M. Vickers, 'Rupert of the Rhine: A new portrait by Dieussart and Bernini's Charles I,' Apollo, March, 1978, pp. 161-169; 

C. Avery, 'François Dieussart (c. 1600-61), Portrait Sculptor to the Courts of Northern Europe,' Studies in European Sculpture, London, 1981, pp. 205-235; 

F. Scholten, 'François Dieussart, Constantijn Huygens, and the Classical Ideal in Funerary Sculpture', Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, vol. 25, no. 4 (1997), pp. 303-328; 

M. Boudon Machuel, 'François Dieussart in Rome: Two Newly Identified Works', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 145, no. 1209 (Dec, 2003), pp. 833-840; 

C. Avery, 'The Collector Earl and his Modern Marbles. Thomas Howard and François Dieussart,' Apollo, June, 2006, pp. 46-53; 

A. Bacchi, C. Hess, J. Montagu and A-L. Desmas, Bernini and the Birth of Baroque Portrait Sculpture, exh. cat. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Los Angeles, 2008, pp. 192-195, no. 4.3; 

O. Mallick, Spiritus intus agit'. Die Patronagepolitik der Anna von Österreich. Untersuchungen zur Inszenierungsstrategie, Hofhaltungspraxis und Freundschaftsrhetorik einer Königin (1643-1666), Ph.D. dissertation, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2012/2013

Sotheby's would like to thank Dr Oliver Mallick for his kind assistance with the identification of the sitter and the cataloguing of this lot."

Anne of Austria
with the Young Louis XIV
Medallion by Jean Warin (1604 - 72).
Photograph Courtesy The Louvre, Paris


Because I have a slight doubt as to this attribution and because it amuses me, I am including a small selection of interesting contemporary paintings and engravings of Anne of Austria here.

Ann of Austria
After Pierre Mignard

Engraving by Robert Nanteuil
National Gallery of Art, Washington.


Anne of Austria
Simon Vouet
202 x 172 cms
Oil on Canvas
After 1643 when she became Regent to Louis XIV.
Hermitage, St Peterberg

Related image

Anne of Austria as Minerva and Princess Marie Therese as Peace

Simon Renard de Saint - Andre


Anne of Austria.
Engraving by Robert Nanteuil 1666.

After Phillipe de Champaigne
Engraved by Jean Morin.
31.8 × 26.2 cm.
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Anne of Austria
After Jean Nocret
Engraved by Michel Lasne. 1645.
35.2 × 24.9 cm.
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington.


Anne of Austria
Clade Mellan
35.2 × 24.1 cm
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington


Anne of Austria
Louys, Jacob; printmaker; Dutch artist, c.1595 - c.1673
after Rubens, Peter Paul (1577-1640).

Anne of Austria.
After Rubens.
Engraving by Hendrik Hondius, 1627.

Anne of Austria
Peter Paul Rubens circa 1622 - 25.
Oil on Canvas - 120 × 96.8 cm
Norton Simon Museum.


Anne of Austria
Nicolas Viennot 1633.

Anne of Austria in Mourning .
                                     After Philippe de Champaigne, French (Brussels 1602 - 1674 Paris)        
 Jean Morin, French (1605 - 1650).


Anne of Austria
Miniature attributed to Petitot
Sold Bonhams 21 May 2014.


Monday 5 October 2015

The Last Four English Medallions by Jaques Antoine Dassier with a portrait of Jean Dassier by Liotard..

 Medallions of Frederick Prince of Wales and George II.
by Jaques Antoine Dassier.
All images on green background courtesy Ben Weiss - I am very grateful for his support and assistance in this project.
I would like to thank Professor Ben Weiss, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology
Drexel University College of Medicine,
 for allowing me to reproduce his photographs and captions.

A visit to his website is essential for anyone interested in pre 19th century European Medallions.
With additional notes from The Medals of the Dassiers of Geneva - Lustrous Images from the Enlightenment by William Eisler, pub Skira 2010.

Frederick Prince of Wales (1707 - 51).
Jaques Antoine Dassier.
Bronze 55mm diam. circa 1745 / 50.
Obv: Bust of Frederick    FREDERIC. WALLIAE PRINCEPS.
Rev: Two Genii among clouds supporting the Prince's Coronet with plumes and motto    ICH DIEN (I serve)
Signed:  I.A. DASSIER.
Ref: M.I. ii, 660/366 (illustrated); Eimer 89/631

Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales (1707-1751), was the first-born son of King George II and Queen Caroline. At about 1750 the Prince of Wales was endeavoring to acquire popularity, which may have promoted the issuance of this medal.

George II.
Jaques Antoine Dassier.
Bronze 55 mm diam.
Dated 1750.
Obv: George II in armour, wearing the Star of the Garter    GEORGIUS II. D. G. MAG. BR. FR. ET HIB. REX.
Rev: Mercury (Commerce) presenting Britannia, seated on the seashore, with a Cornucopia. Infant Genius is measuring a globe; in the distance, shipping.     HAE TIBI SUNT ARTES (These are thy arts)
Exergue:  MDCCL.
Signed:  J. A. DASSIER.
Ref: M.I. 658/363(illustrated); Eimer 89/630
This medal commemorated no particular event but the general state of the kingdom. The few years of peace that followed the Treaty of Aix-la Chapelle were the most prosperous and happy that Europe had ever known. Arts and letters were encouraged and cultivated, manufacturing and commerce flourished, and society was highly polished.
The Death of George II.
Jaques Antoine Dassier.
Bronze 42 mm diam.
Obv: Bust of George II     GEORGIUS. II. D.G. MAG. BR. FR. ET. HIB. REX.
Rev: Victory inscribing a shield with the names of the four continents:  ASIA AFRICA AMERI EUR. She is seated among arms and standards. Above, Fame with a portrait medallion of William Pitt, inscribed: GU: PITT DICTATOR from which Fame is removing a curtain.
TRIUMPHA UBIQUE (Triumphs Everywhere) ; on pedestal:  NATUS: 10 NOV: 1683 COR: 22 OCT: 1727 OBIIT 25 OCT:1760
Signed: J. DASSIER F./ I.D. F.

Ref: M.I., ii 714/454 (ill.); Eimer 95/681; Betts 190/427; Fearon 48/211.3; Eisler I, 266/36
According to Eisler, this medal, despite it bearing the signature of Jean Dassier, was most likely re-engraved and struck by Antoine Dassier from dies then in his possession.
The obverse is cut from dies made in 1731 for the Dedicatory medal for the Series of Kings and Queens of England. As the reverse die for this piece was cut after the King's death in 1760, this medal is often not included as part of Dassier's Series of the Kings and Queen of England. The reverse intimates that the King's arms had triumphed in every quarter of the globe, and under the direction of Pitt, whose authority was almost equivalent to that of a Roman Dictator, had been called to guide the helm at a time of extraordinary difficulties.
John, 2nd Duke of Montague (1690 - 1749).
Jacques Antoine Dassier
dated 1751.
Bronze 55 mm diam.
The reverse depicting the good Samaritan.
Montagu (1688 (c)-1749) succeeded his father to the dukedom in 1709 and married John 1st Duke of Marlborough's youngest daughter but, although they had two sons, when Montagu suddenly died of a 'violent fever' he had no surviving male heirs and the title became extinct. Montagu House, his London home, became the repository for national treasures which opened in 1759 as the British Museum.
In 1739, the country's first home for abandoned children, the Foundling Hospital was created in London. Montagu was a supporter of this effort and was one of the charity's founding governors. He also financed the education of two notable black British figures of the age - Ignatius Sancho and Francis Williams, sending the latter to Cambridge.

He was Master of the Great Wardrobe, Colonel of the Queen's Regiment of Horse, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

He was a notorious practical joker, his mother-in-law writing of him that "All his talents lie in things only natural in boys of fifteen years old, and he is about two and fifty; to get people into his garden and wet them with squirts, and to invite people to his country houses and put things in beds to make them itch, and twenty such pretty fancies as these."

He is said to have once dunked the political philosopher Montesque in a tub of cold water as a joke.
(quoted in Martin C. Battestin's "General Introduction" to Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews. Middleton, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1967: xxvin. Montagu is believed by some literary critics to be the model for Fielding's "roasting squire," the vicious squire who plays practical jokes).

John Duke of Montagu.
After Michael Dahl.
Mezzotint John Faber Jnr c. 1718 - 25.

John, 2nd Duke of Montagu.
Anonymous c. 1730.
Oil on canvas, 75 x 61 cm
National Trust, Trerice House, Cornwall.
John Duke of Montagu
After Godfrey Kneller,
Mezzotint by John Faber, 1731.
347 mm x 251 mm plate size.
© National Portrait Gallery, London.
John, 2nd Duke of Montagu (1690-1749), his wife Lady Mary Churchill, daughter of the Duke of Marlborough, and their youngest daughter, Lady Mary Montagu
Conversation piece by Gawen Hamilton c.1730.
60.96 x 71.76 cm
General John, 2nd Duke of Montagu, Master General of the Ordnance, 1740.
Oil on canvas by George Knapton (1698-1778).
National Army Museum, London.
Jean Dassier (1676  - 1763).
By Jean Etienne Liotard (1702 - 89).
c. 1725 - 30.
Pastel on Parchment 55 x 44 cms. 

The Medallion of William Wake by Jean Dassier and a brief biography of the Dassier Family.

A Medallion of William Wake, (1657 - 1737).
 Archbishop of Canterbury.
by Jean Dassier, 1725.
The First in a Series of Medallions 
of European Protestant Reformers.
Struck in Geneva.
The photographs and information in large measure below
taken from the website of the estimable Ben Weiss.
For anyone interested in the history of Medallions a visit to his website will be invaluable.
Jean Dassier, 1725,
  Bronze, 43 mm

(These Most Truthful Portraits of Illustrious Men, Who Have Labored for the Revival and Restoration of the True Christian Religion and Polite Literature in Europe, Jean Dassier, a Genevese, Offers, Presents, and Dedicated to the Right Reverend Father in Christ, William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan, 1725.)
Ref: M.I. 462/73; Eimer 76/500; Eisler I, 209/1a
This is the Dedicatory medal for Dassier's Series of 24 medallion portraits Protestant Reformers  (Reformauteurs de l'Eglise) each 28 mm in diam in struck in silver and bronze in Geneva in 1725. Dassier was encouraged in this project by Jean-Alphonse Turrettini (1671 - 1737) of Geneva a keen numismatist and propogandist for the protestant faith - The son of Francois Turretin, he studied theology at Geneva under Louis Tronchin and after travelling in England, Holland and France was received into the "Venerable Compagnie des Pasteurs" of Geneva in 1693. Here he became pastor of the Italian congregation, and in 1697 professor of church history, and later (1705) of theology.

In 1711 Jean Dassier collaborated with the French medallist Jerome Roussel to produce a series of 60 medals representing Les Metemorphoses d'Ovide which were struck in Geneva. Another edition was struck in 1717 dedicated to Phillipe d'Orleans Regent of France.

The set of 24 medallions of  Protestant Reformers followed Jean Dassier's 1723/4 series of 73 small portrait medallions of the great men and women of France from drawings provided by his cousin Jacques Antoine Arlaud (1668 - 1743) miniaturist to the Regent, Phillipe d'Orleans. These had been selected from the engravings by Charles Perrault in Hommes Illustres qui ont paru en France pendant ce siècle, pub Paris 1696 - 1700. This series which celebrated the achievements and cultural glories of the reign of Louis VIV, was trumpeted in the Mercure de France in August of 1723 and was sold in Paris by the Genevan goldsmith Jaques le Double in his boutique in the Place Dauphine.

These medallions of the Protestant Reformers were very different from the previous set in that they celebrated the achievements of anti Catholic, German, Dutch, Swiss and English Protestant reformers including Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, Nicholas Ridley and John Knox, which were virulently opposed by Louis XIV. They celebrated the efforts of Turettin and Wake to unite the protestant states.

The Dassiers seemed to have been able to perform a balancing act with their art, pleasing various opposing forces, Protestant and Catholic, and later the English Prime Minister Walpole and his opposition, even including Oliver Cromwell in the series of English monarchs 

Jean Dassier visited England in 1728 in the hope of gaining a position at the Royal Mint which was ultimately unsuccessful but cemented his relationship with English patrons. In February 1730 the initial pieces for the Rois d'Angleterre were presented at the court of George II and Queen Caroline by the prelate from Zurich, Johann Heinrich Ott, an aide to Archbishop Wake. Wake himself discussed the project with the Queen and in June 1731 a subscription campaign, with a flyer in both English and French was initiated to finance series of Kings and Queens of England. The smaller series of Medallions of British worthies was commenced also at this time.

Thee versions of these sets of medals which were partially gilt were distributed to prestigious clients. There are some in the Royal Collection and a set in the British Museum.

Although he received support from high place there were critics of his work in particular George Vertue who criticised the initial proofs for the medallions of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Queen Mary for their lack of authenticity. Vertue is believed to have supplied engravings by himself based on originals by Hans Holbein for Edward VI, Isaac Oliver for Elizabeth I and Antonis Mors. Vertue wrote in his notebook in April 1733 that the set of worthies was to be produced including medals of Chaucer Shakespeare Milton, Camden, Bacon, Selden, Harvey, Boyle, Spenser, Locke, Clarke, Duke of Marlborough and Newton in the event only eight came to fruition. 

These medallions were produced at about the same time as those by Rysbrack and Scheemakers for the Temple of British Worthies Stowe House and those by Guelfi for Queen Caroline's Grotto.
Vertue says that the Dassier medallion of Shakespeare is based on his engraving. The medal of Milton perhaps, should be viewed as a pendant to that of Shakespeare, and is based on an authentic pastel taken from life, engraved by Vertue and ratified by Milton's daughter Deborah.

William Wake (1657-1737) was educated at Oxford and, through a succession of appointments, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1716. He was the author of several theological works and many volumes of sermons. Wake was also a numismatist and an ardent collector of medals, including those by Jean Dassier. He was particularly impressed with the special nature of Dassier's medallic work, noting that previously the most elegant and ingenious monuments had been erected to princes and heroes whose atrocious deeds had brought about the ruination of nations and peoples. By contrast, to Dassier's great credit, he had chosen to commemorate those men who were accomplished in the arts and sciences, and in particular those who had employed their talent for the glory of God. (Eisler).

As is indicated in the legend on the reverse of this medal, Dassier dedicated this series of medals to William Wake.

Wake is probably the most important character in the history of the Dassier medals with English subjects and was the main link between the Swiss Medallists and English society. It is tempting to suggest a link between the Dassiers and Louis Francois Roubiliac who arrived in England in about 1730 certainly they influenced him in his remarkably naturalistic portraits particularly that of Martin Folkes but it is also distinctly possible that he exercised a strong influence on the younger Jacques Antoine Dassier, son of Jean Dassier, who arrived in England in 1740. He took up his position as third engraver to the Royal Mint in April of 1741. The first three medals of the series of British worthies are displayed in London in June 174.
The later series of British worthies by Jaques-Antoine Dassier, commenced with the portrait of Martin Folkes, followed by de Moivre and Alexander Pope. He had issued a prospectus reported in the press both in England and abroad for 13 medals (only 12 were produced). Eisler suggests that wax portraits were made in England and the medals struck by his brother Antoine in Geneva (they are signed A Dassier).
Archbishop William Wake, 1736.
Oil on canvas, 127 x 102 cm.
Lambeth Palace.
Archbishop Wake
Thomas Gibson
124.5 x 99.1 cm
Christ Church, Oxford.
Archbishop William Wake
Thomas Hills d.1734.
National Portrait Gallery.
Archbishop William Wake (1657 - 1737). 
After Thomas Gibson (1715 - 42).
Engraved by Michael van der Gucht (1688 - 1720)
347 x 245 mm approx. c 1716 - 20)
Image from British Museum.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Jacques-Antoine Dassier. 16 Medallions - The London Series.

Jacques-Antoine Dassier (1715-1759),
The London Series of Medallions.

In Chronological Order.

All images on green background courtesy Ben Weiss - I am very grateful for his support and assistance in this project.

I would like to thank Professor Ben Weiss, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology
Drexel University College of Medicine,
 for allowing me to reproduce his photographs and captions.
A visit to his website is essential for anyone interested in pre 19th century European Medallions.

The Dassier family of Geneva constituted a group of celebrated Swiss medallists from the late 17th to mid 18th centuries. The father, Domaine Dassier (1641-1719), was Chief-engraver at the Mint of Geneva from 1677 to 1720. His son, Jean Dassier (1676-1763), who succeeded his father as Chief-engraver on his father’s death in 1720, studied die-sinking under his father and later in Paris under Mauger and Roettiers.
Jacques Antoine Dasasier (1715 - 59) son of Jean Dassier learned the art of die-sinking under the celebrated goldsmith Germain of Paris. He was engaged as Engraver at the Royal Mint, London from 1741 - 1757. Another son of Jean Dassier, Antoine (1718-1780), worked with his father for a number of years, issuing a series of medals bearing the signature DASSIER ET FILS.

The series of British worthies by Jaques-Antoine Dassier, son of Jean Dassier commenced with the portrait of Martin Folkes in 1741. Martin Folkes was the nephew and heir of  William Wake (see forthcoming blog entry). Jaques Antoine Dassier had come to England in 1741 where he had assumed the position of third engraver to the Royal Mint (April 1741). He had issues a prospectus reported in the press both in England and abroad for 13 medals (only 12 were produced) in 1741. Eisler suggests that wax portraits were made in England and the medals struck by his brother in Geneva (they are signed A Dassier).

1. Martin Folkes
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1740.
Bronze 55mm. diam.

Rev: Ornamental device    SOCIETATIS REGALIS LONDINI SODALIS. M.DCC.XL. (Fellow of the Royal Society of London, 1740)
Ref: M.I. ii, 558/185; Eimer 82/556; Forrer I, p.337 (illustrated); Thompson 48/01

Martin Folkes (1690-1754) was a scholar and antiquary. He succeeded Sir Hans Sloane as President of the Royal Society of London. He was also President of the Society of Antiquaries.

Martin Folkes was the nephew and heir of William Wake Archbishop of Canterbury - he had inherited the set of 24 medallions of Hommes Illustres of 1725, portraits of leading English, Swiss and German Protestant reformers, based on Renaissance prototypes, personally presented to Wake by Jean Dassier (Eisler). That set was dedicated to Wake by Dassier.

Plaster Bust of Martin Folkes
Louis Francois Roubiliac
Purchased by Matthew Matey at the Roubiliac sale in 1762.
British Museum.

The marble Roubilic bust of Martin Folkes at Wilton House.
Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art .

Unfortunately this is the best photograph of this bust currently available at the present time - one can just see the socle which reproduces the reverse side of Dassier's medallion.

I am hoping to obtain permission to photograph the portrait sculpture at Wilton House in due course -
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of Dassiers medallion of Martin Folkes is the completely naturalistic depiction of Folkes with no attempt at flattery. The medallion predates the similarly informal and realistic Roubiliac bust by several years. The influence of Dassier on the portrait busts by Roubiliac should be noted - both artists appear to be unflinching in depicting their subjects as they appeared in life. They will have certainly known each other - attending the same church and moving in the circle of the St Martin's Lane Academy and the intellectual and artistic hothouse of Old Slaughters Coffee House in St Martin's Lane.

Martin Folkes c1740.
After Thomas Hudson.
Mezzotint by James McArdell
302 mm x 248 mm
© National Portrait Gallery, London.

For an in depth look into the busts by Roubiliac in the British Museum, in particular that of Martin Folkes see my previous blog entry -


2. Abraham de Moivre (1667 - 1754).
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1741.
Bronze, 55 mm diam.

Rev: Ornamental device    UTRIUSQUE SOCIETATIS REGALIS. LOND. ET BEROL. SODALIS. M.DCC.XLI. (Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Berlin, 1741)
Signed:  I.A. DASSIER.
Ref: M.I. ii, 565/197; Eimer 83/563; Thompson 48/02

Abraham de Moivre (1667-1754), an English mathematician of French Huguenot extraction, was a pioneer in the development of analytic trigonometry and in the theory of probability. Upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he was jailed as a Protestant. When released, he went to England where he became a close friend of Sir Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley. He is best known for a theorem, bearing his name for the solution of certain trigonometric functions


3. Alexander Pope.
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1741
Bronze 55mm diam.

DASSIER, Jacques-Antoine: England, 1741, Bronze, 54 mm
Bust of Pope (r) ALEXA-NDER POPE.
Inscription with ornamental device POETA ANGLUS. M.DCC.XLI.
Ref: Eimer 83/564; Med.Ill. ii, 565/198

Another smaller medallion of Pope (28.7 mm diam.) was made by Dassier with a slightly different reverse. This appears to be quite rare, I have found no images of this except in Eisler


4. William Windham (1716 - 42).
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1742.
Bronze 41 mm.

DASSIER, Jean: England, 1742, Bronze, 41 mm
Obv: Bust of Windham (r)    GULIELMUS WINDHAM ARMIGER.
Rev: Inscription within an ornamental frame decorated with masks above and below     OFFICII ET AUGURII CAUSA   FECIT I. DASSIER MDCCXLII. (Executed in 1742 by Jean Dassier in Homage and as an Omen of Good Fortune)
Ref: Med. Ill. ii, 570/205;  Eimer 84/571;  Eisler II, 143/16

William Windham (1716-1761) was a member of a distinguished family in British political history.  He went to Geneva in 1738 where he formed a group consisting of several young Englishmen and his tutor, Benjamin Stillingfleet, a disciple of the English prelate and philosopher Bishop Edward Stillingfleet (1635-1699). Among other works, the latter Stillingfleet wrote Irenicum in 1659 which suggested a compromise between Episcopacy and Presbyterianism.


5. Charles Spencer, Duke of Marlborough, (1706 - 58).
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1742.
Copper/ Bronze 55 mm diam.

Obv: Armored bust right, hair tied en queue CAROLUS SPENCER.
Ref: MI ii, 568/202; Eimer 568; Eisler II, 292, 5
Charles Spencer (1706-1758), Third Duke of Marlborough, known as The Earl of Sunderland between 1729 and 1733, was the son of Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland and Lady Anne Churchill.
Spencer was a politician and General in the British Army, where he fought alongside King George II at the Battle of Dettingen in 1745. He briefly served as Lord Privy Seal in 1755. He is best known for his service as Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in the early part of the Seven Years’ War (1754-1763) where he led British forces during the Raid on St Malo in 1758. He died in Germany shortly thereafter.


6. Archdeacon Ralph Brideoak (1665 - 1743).
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1743.
Copper/ Bronze 55 mm diam.

DASSIER, Jacques-Antoine: England, 1743, Copper, 55 mm
Bust right, wearing surplice, RADULPH. BRIDEOAKE ARCHIDIACONUS WINTON. (Ralph Brideoake, Archdeacon of Winchester.)
Rev: Church of St Mary, Southampton ECCLESIA BEATAE MARLAE SOUTHTON RESTITUTA 1722. (The Church of St. Mary, Southampton, restored, 1722.)
Exergue: Nat. 13 IUN. 1665. OB. 19 MART. 1742/3.
Ref: Eimer 574 (var.); MI ii 573/209; Eisler II, 293, 11
Archdeacon Ralph Brideoake (1665-1743), Archdeacon of Winchester, was Prebendary of Hereford and Rector of St. Mary’s Southampton. He rebuilt the parish and parsonage house at his own expense. The medal was made on his death in 1743.
There are two versions of this medal, made from different dies. Medallic Illustrations states that this version is in lower relief and better executed than the other of its type.



7. John Campbell, Duke of Argyle.
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1743.
Bronze 55mm diam.

Obv: Bust of Campbell    IOHANN. CAMPBELL.
Rev: Ornamental device decorated with military standards   DUX DE ARGYLE ET DE GREENWICH . MDCCXLIII
Signed:  I.A. DASSIER. F.
From Jacques-Antoine Dassier's London Series of medals depicting celebrated contemporary men.
Ref: M.I. 579/216; Eimer 84/577; Cochran-Patrick 101/12; Thompson 49/06

John Campbell (1678-1743), second Duke of Argyle, general and statesman, took an important part in military and political affairs during the reign of Anne, and had a principal share in bringing about the Act of Union. Under the military leadership of Charles, Duke of Marlborough, Campbell distinguished himself in several battles, including those at Ramillies, Oudenarde, Lille, Ghent and Malplaquet. In 1715 he successfully quelled the Jacobite rebellion and subsequently was given the title of Duke of Greenwich.


8.  Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield. (1694 - 1773).
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1743.
Bronze 55mm diam.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, Fourth Earl of Chesterfield, (1694- 1773).Statesman, wit and letter-writer. Elected an M. P. whilst still a minor in 1715, he was one of the most brilliant characters of his time. In 1745 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the following year Secretary of State. By 1743 he was the acknowledge leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords. However in 1748, at his own behest, he retired from public office devoting his attention to literary matters.

Image Courtesy - 


9. Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford, (1676 - 1745), Prime Minister.
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1743.
Bronze 55mm diam.

10. John Carteret (1690 - 1763).
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1744.
Bronze 55mm diam.

Obv: Bust of Carteret    IOHANNES CARTERET.  (John Carteret)
Rev: Ornamental device    BARO DE CARTERET. M.DCC.XLIV.  (Baron Carteret, 1744)
Signed:  A. DASSIER. F.
From Jacques-Antoine Dassier's London Series of medals depicting celebrated contemporary men.
Ref: M.I. 586/228; Eimer 85/584; Thompson 50/09;  Eisler ii, 294/13
John (Johannes) Carteret (1690-1763), Earl Granville, Viscount Carteret, Baron Carteret of Hawnes, was a distinguished orator and statesman.  He was the son of George, 1st Baron Carteret, and Lady Grace Granville.  He succeeded his father as Lord Carteret in 1695 at the age of five and entered the House of Lords in 1711, where he became one of Robert Walpole's most eloquent and prominent critics.   In 1711 he supported in the House of Peers the Protestant succession. Because of his pro-Hanoverian policy, King George II appointed him as Secretary of State after Walpole's fall in 1742 at which time Carteret directed England's involvement against France in the War of the Austrian Succession. He also held the post of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He became Earl Granville on the death of his mother, shortly after this medal was executed. (Thompson).


11. William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath, (1684 - 1764).
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1744.
Bronze 55mm diam.

Obv: Bust of Pulteney    GUILIELMUS PULTENEY.
Rev: Oak wreath    COMES DE BATH. MDCCXLIV.
Signed:  A. DASSIER. F.
Ref: M.I. 586/229; Eimer 85/585; Thompson 51/10

William Pulteney (1684 -1764), 1st Earl of Bath, entered parliament in the reign of Queen Anne.  Pulteney was Secretary of War from 1714 to 1717  in the first ministry of George I , and was on the committee of secrecy on the Treaty of Utrecht, formed in 1715. He was distinguished as the most able leader of the Opposition against Sir Robert Walpole.  In1742 Pulteney was created Earl of Bath by King George II.  He was buried, in his own vault in Islip chapel, Westminster Abbey.


12. Sir Hans Sloane
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1744.
Bronze 55 mm. diam.

3. Sir John Barnard (1685 - 1764), Lord Mayor of London in 1737.
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1744.
Bronze, 55mm. diam.
Image courtesey Baldwins.


© National Portrait Gallery, London

14. Edmund Halley Astronomer (1656 - 1742).
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1744.
Bronze 55mm diam.


15. Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676 - 1753).
Warden of the Mint from 1727.
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1744.
Bronze 56mm. diam.
Image courtesy

Sir Andrew Fountaine, (1676-1753), of Narford Hall, Norfolk, Warden of the Mint (1727-1753).The legend on the reverse alludes to the mottos on Roman coins and as such his wardenship.

Terracotta bust of Sir Andrew Fountain.
54 x 49 cms.
Norwich Castle Museum.
Purchased 1992

Sir Andrew Fountaine; by descent at Narford Hall, Norfolk to Commander Andrew Fountaine.

Library Photograph of a marble bust of Sir Andrew Fountaine by Roubiliac at Wilton House.

Front and rear of a plaster bust of Sir Andrew Fountaine
unsigned or dated. c 1747.
60.3 x 48.3 x 24.8 cm
Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, Conn.


Poor quality images of the monument to Sir Andrew Fountaine with the bust by Roubiliac at Narford Church.

The socle reproduces the obverse of the Dassier Medallion.

Sir Andrew Fountaine was born in 1676 in Norfolk, England into a respectable family at Narford Hall. He was the eldest son of the gentleman, Andrew Fountaine, and his wife, Sarah, Sir Thomas Chicheley’s youngest daughter. A gifted and charismatic man, he graduated from Christ Church in 1697 and was introduced to the court of William III by family friend, the second Duke of Devonshire. He moved quickly through the academic sphere and was chosen by Dr. Henry Aldrich in 1698 to present an oration in Latin to William III, for which Fountaine was knighted in 1699. Fountaine was a man of virtuosi interests, especially coins. In 1705, he contributed to George Hicke’s Thesaurus Septentrionalis, his personal research on Anglo- Saxon and Danish coinage. Nevertheless, what truly landed him into the realm of the Royal Court occurred in 1701 when he chosen to carry the Act of Succession with Lord Macclesfield to the elector of Hanover.  Afterwards, Fountaine chose to extend his trip from Hanover and head to Germany and then Rome for the first of two European tours he would make throughout his lifetime. These journeys would effectively establish his reputation as an art collector and amateur architect.

            Fountaine’s first trip to Italy began around the year 1702, the same year he was admitted to the Royal Society of Berlin. Most of what is known about this trip is through his correspondence with Leibnitz, the German philosopher and mathematician, whom he wrote frequently. Writing from Rome in June 1702, he told Leibnitz that he had “very little time to Spare in this Town, because the antiquities are soe numerous, and the other curiositys so diverting, that a stranger always has something to fill his time about." While in Rome, Fountaine was introduced to the renowned artist, Carlo Maratta, who would later produce the portrait of him.

Two Italian Medallions of Sir Andrew Fountaine dated 1715.
85 mm diam.

The bronze - showing on the reverse Bellona, rushing over rugged rocks strewed with armour, seizes and arrests Fortune, whose foot is placed on her wheel.

 On 16 June 1884, Messrs. Christie, Manson, and Wood held a four-day sale that scattered most of this legendary collection.

Sir Andrew Fountaine never married and died on 4 September 1753, leaving behind no children. His sister, Elizabeth, married Colonel Edward Clent and had one daughter also named Elizabeth, who would go on to marry Captain William Price. This Elizabeth, (Fountaine's niece) had a son named Brigg Price who would go on to assume the Fountaine surname and arms, carrying on the family name. 

Portrait of Sir Andrew Fountaine and friends in the Tribune Gallery of the Uffizi, Florence
by Giulo Pignatta
Oil on canvas, 145.5 x 119 cm
Norwich Castle Museum.

 For Fountaine see Ford, Brinsley. 1985. "Sir Andrew Fountaine: One of the Keenest Virtuosi of His Age". Apollo. 352-358.

Robert Barker
Jaques Antoine Dassier. 1744.
Bronze 55 mm. diam.
Image - Metropolitan Museum