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Portrait Medallion - Jean Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire - c.1778

Portrait Medallion - Jean francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
    Portrait Medallion - Jean francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

Portrait Medallion of Jean Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire, french writer

Portrait Medallion of Jean Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire, french writer (1694-1778). Modelled by William Hackwood.

  • Type of object: Plaques and medallions/portrait medallion
  • Mark: Wedgwood & Bentley
    [Impressed on reverse]
    [Impressed on obverse]
  • Year produced: c.1778
  • Body: Jasper
  • Glaze: unglazed
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: dipped, ornamented
  • Accession number: 4283

Related people

  • William Hackwood Modeller

    William Hackwood - Modeller (1753 - 1836)

    Josiah Wedgwood first took on Hackwood at the Wedgwood Etruria factory in 1769. Wedgwood described him as an 'ingenious boy' - he was ultimately destined to become the chief modeller of the ornamental range at the Etruria factory. His forté was the production and modelling of portrait medallions - and he was particularly indispensable in the work of adapting busts, reliefs and designs that Wedgwood obtained from various sources. Many of the 18th-century portrait medallions are by his hand and include portraits of Josiah Wedgwood I, George III and Queen Charlotte. A few signed works also exist - the portraits of Garrick and Shakespeare were signed on the truncation, or just under the shoulder. Wedgwood disapproved of this practice and Hackwood was instructed not to repeat this.In 1774, Wedgwood wrote 'Hackwood is of the greatest value and consequence in finishing fine small work, and of this kind we have and shall have enough to employ him constantly'. Two years later he was further wishing that he had '....half a dozen more Hackwoods'. Hackwood continued working for Wedgwood at Etruria for 63 years and produced many bas reliefs and works that can be authenticated.

  • Voltaire Subject

    Voltaire - Subject (1694 - 1778)

    Born Francois-Marie Arouet in Paris in 1694, Francois would become best known by his 'nom de plume' - Voltaire. He was a French enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher advocating civil liberties such as free trade, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and campaigning for the separation of the Church and State. He wrote many books, novels, plays, poems and essays frequently using them to criticize intolerance and French Institutions of the day. He died in 1778 at the age of 84.


  • 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.