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