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Portrait medallion depicting Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - c.1790

Portrait Medallion - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    Portrait Medallion - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Portrait medallion of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German man of letters and statesman.

Portrait medallion with a white forward facing relief of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German man of letters and statesman. Portrait attributed on the evidence of style to John Flaxman jr. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer in the late 18th and early 19th century who became enormously renowned across Europe for his letters, poems, novels, plays, epics, critiques, political theory, scientific works and more. He was born in 1749 in Frankfurt am Main in the Holy Roman Empire and grew up with a literary talent. By the age of 25 he was somewhat of a celebrity and was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar after the success of his first novel 'The Sorrows of Young Werther'. He later was a member of the privy council for the Duke as well as the war and highway commission and oversaw the re-opening of the silver mines in llmenau. He also implemented some administrative reforms at the University of Jena. During his life he also went on grand tour across Italy and returned to become the managing director at the theater of Weimar after his first major scientific work the 'Metamorphosis of Plants' was published. His work was proclaimed part of what is seen now as Weimar Classicism with over 10,000 letters and 3,000 drawings to his name. This green jasper medallion depicts a celebratory image of his life and achievements from the time of his work, it is intended as a decorative piece to be hung on an wall or situated on a desk.

  • Type of object: Plaques and medallions/portrait medallion
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD
  • Year produced: c.1790
  • Body: Jasper
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: dipped
  • Accession number: 4055

Related people

  • John Flaxman Jnr RA

    John Flaxman Jnr RA (1754 - 1825)

    English sculptor, and designer, born in York, the son of a modeller and maker of plaster casts. The family moved to Covent Garden, London in 1756. In 1766 at the age of 11 Flaxman Jnr won a premium from the Society of Arts, now the Royal Society of Arts, enrolling three years later as one of the first students of the newly founded Royal Academy Schools. He exhibited for the first time at the Academy in 1770, and had come to the attention of the founder of the Wedgwood company, Josiah I himself, in 1771. By 1775 Flaxman Jnr had commenced to provide models and designs to the Wedgwood factory. Flaxman at Wedgwood’s behest went to Rome in 1787, where he remained, studying classical architecture and arts until 1794. During this period Flaxman supplied many important designs to Wedgwood. Amongst these can be numbered the famous ‘Apotheosis of Homer’ relief and vase; ‘Hercules in the Garden of Hesperides’; various bust subjects including Mercury, as well as the Josiah Wedgwood memorial in St Peter ad Vincula, Stoke-on-Trent’s parish church. Flaxman also supplied a huge range of portrait medallions and smaller sized bas reliefs for use by the firm.

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Subject

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Subject (1749 - 1832)

    Johann was a German writer, playwright, poet, diplomat, artist, novelist and politician.


  • 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.

  • Dip


    A layer applied to the surface of the white jasper body using coloured slip - as opposed to a ‘solid' jasper body where the same colour permeates throughout the entire ceramic medium.