Sovereign: George III (obverse); St. George and the Dragon (reverse)

Sovereign: George III (obverse); St. George and the Dragon (reverse)

1817

Part of a set. See all set records

designed by

after Benedetto Pistrucci

(Italian, 1784-1855)

Gold

Diameter: 2.2 cm (7/8 in.)

Weight: 7.97 g (0.28 oz.)

The Norweb Collection 1969.212

Location

Did you know?

Benedetto Pistrucci's portrait of the king is a caricature.

Description

Great changes had occurred since King George III's previous coinage. The Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower of London to new premises in Little Tower Hill. The new mint was fitted with the latest steam-driven machinery by Boulton and Watt, and the whole coinage had been reformed. The guinea of twenty-one shillings was replaced by the sovereign, the pound unit piece, designed by Benedetto Pistrucci, and went into circulation in 1817. The new Royal Mint was placed under the Mastership of William Wellesley Pole, later Lord Maryborough and finally the third Earl of Mornington, an elder brother of the famous Duke of Wellington. Pole was so impressed by a cameo of Saint George and the dragon, cut by Pistrucci, that he invited the artist to England and set him to design the new coinage. For legal reasons Pistrucci could not be appointed chief engraver, which started a quarrel between the artist and the government that lasted nearly 40 years until the Pistrucci's death in 1855. Working with, and often against, various members of the family who held a succession of engraving appointments at the Royal Mint, Pistrucci produced the new coinage of the reign of George III. His magnificent Saint George, seen to its best on this very rare piece, continued to be used from time to time. It is still the reverse type of the British sovereign.

See also
Collection: 
MED - Numismatics
Department: 
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Coins
Medium: 
Gold
Credit line: 
The Norweb Collection

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.