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George III ‘Health restored’ portrait medallion - 1789

 George III ‘Health restored’ portrait medallion, ©  Wedgwood Museum
    George III ‘Health restored’ portrait medallion
    © Wedgwood Museum

A blue jasper ‘dip’ cameo portrait of George III surmounted by a crown and ribbons featuring the legend ‘Health Restored’ was issued by Etruria in 1789 to celebrate the monarch’s apparent return to sanity. The bas-relief head is from the Academy Prize Medal entry by the artist Edward Burch dated 1785.

George III and his consort Queen Charlotte were staunch supporters of Josiah Wedgwood I from the early days of the company. In the late 1780s His Majesty suffered a bout of madness - a condition later diagnosed as porphyria - from which he made an apparent recovery in 1789. To celebrate the event Wedgwood produced three medallions for sale to the public, each with a different theme. The largest medallion featured the winged victory figure of Nike inscribing ‘Health rest…’ on a shield. This medallion was the smallest of the three. It is ornamented with a portrait head of George III wearing a laurel wreath, surmounted by a crown and ribbons bearing the raised inscription ‘Health Restored’. Edward Burch RA had a considerable reputation as a gem engraver and modeller in wax, and supplied Etruria with models between 1788 and 1790. The George III portrait medallion on this oval white jasper, dark blue ‘dip’ medallion is after the Academy Prize Medal entry by Burch of 1785. The high quality of the medallion is further emphasised by the lapidary polishing on the edge.

  • Type of object: Plaques and medallions/portrait medallion
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD (Impressed)
  • Year produced: 1789
  • Body: Jasper
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: sprigged
  • Accession number: 9527
  • Dimensions: 65 mm (height), 41 mm (width), 4 mm (depth)

Related people

  • Jean Champollion Artist

    Jean Champollion - Artist (1790 - 1832)

    French Egyptologist who is celebrated as the father of modern Egyptology. He deciphered the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone, thus laying the foundations for Egyptian archaeology.

  • Edward Burch Artist

    Edward Burch - Artist (1730 - 1814)

    Burch was accepted into the Royal Academy schools in 1769 – the year in which Wedgwood opened his new factory at Etruria – and was elected a member two years later. In his lifetime he achieved a considerable reputation – both as a gem engraver and a modeller in wax. He supplied Wedgwood with models between 1788 and 1790, and in 1789 he produced a portrait head and shoulders of George III to celebrate the King’s temporary return to sanity. He also supplied 18 individual horse-studies – some of which were after drawings by George Stubbs.

  • HM King George III Subject

    HM King George III - Subject (1738 - 1820)

    George III (George William Frederick) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1st January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. He was concurrently Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and prince-elector of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire until his promotion to King of Hanover on 12th October 1814.

Glossary

  • Portrait Medallion

    Portrait Medallion

     

    A medallion, either circular or oval, made usually from black basalt or jasper, which features a head or head and shoulders study, rather than a relief of a classical nature.