An Introduction to
Commemorative Medals in England 1685-1746: their religious, political and
88pp, paperback, colour illustrations throughout
The year 1685 saw the beginning of a turbulent period in
English history: King James II was expelled from Britain; there were wars in
Ireland and on the Continent; repeated attempts by the Jacobite party in exile
to regain the throne of England; and, underlying everything, severe religious
dissension between Catholics and Protestants.
All these events were eminently suitable for medallic commemoration.
Coincidentally, a new generation of engravers, some of
exceptional ability and Dutch origin, had recently emerged. This was important because the engraving of
steel punches and dies was done by hand and obviously required outstanding
skills. Only rudimentary furnaces were
available and critical judgements with respect to temperatures, timing and striking
all had to be made by the engraver.
Despite this, many medals of outstanding accuracy and beauty were
All parties to the various disputes, principally the
maritime powers (England and Holland), France and the Jacobite party in exile
swiftly became aware of the propaganda potential of these medals. They exercised control via the provision of
funding and, or, the specification of content.
65 of these medals are illustrated in this book to demonstrate the high
artistic standard achieved and the extent to which some of the messages
conveyed were biased by political considerations, even to the point of
falsehood or absurdity.
This updated and enhanced edition of Brian Harding’s 2011
book is a must for anyone interested in learning about British medallic
About the author:
Dr Harding first became interested in numismatics at the age
of six, when he was evacuated from London at the beginning of the Second World
War, and given a bag of late 17th century crowns and half crowns to
play with by the jeweller he went to live with.
This kind act sparked a lifelong interest in numismatics which has
recently centred on late 17th and early 18th century
After five years in the RAF and RAFVR and a spell in the
engineering industry he worked for many years as an engineering analyst in the
City and taught post-graduate students at Warwick University, where he held a