Coin Collections from the Enlightenment

Writers and connoisseurs of the Enlightenment period thought that the ancient Greeks had achieved perfection in their sculpture and other works of art and due to this they firmly believed that British artists and manufacturers should imitate Greek styles.  Another major part of the Enlightenment period was classifying the world.  A central section of the Enlightenment room exhibition explored how different collections formed during the 18th century were arranged to gain knowledge about the world, past and present.  One of the collections I enjoyed was the medals of the English monarchs.  Swiss medalist, Jean Dassier, created this collection in 1731 and it was made for English collectors who wanted a sequence of their own rulers, similar to the traditional arrangement of ancient Roman coins of emperors. Dassier presented this deluxe group to George II, who was the last moarch in the collection.  British medals made to celebrate monarchs or events during their reign were like the coins of the Roman emperors and chronologically organized.

Dassier’s series of portrait medals of living famous men were crafted between 1741 and 1745 and included the British poet, Alexander Pope and Britains first prime minister, Robert Walpole.

George III had a collection of Roman imperial coins which were also on display at the museum. Like the name suggests, they have portraits of Roman emperors which were organized in chronological order.  I just found all of this interesting and thought I would share it on my blog for any coin collectors out there!  The British museum was amazing and I loved looking at everything!



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