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Portrait medallion of HM King George III - 1785

Portrait medallion of HM King George III, © Wedgwood Museum
    Portrait medallion of HM King George III
    © Wedgwood Museum

White on Etruria blue-dipped pale blue jasper. The relief portrays King George III with a laurel crown and was originally modelled by Edward Burch in 1785.

White on Etruria blue-dipped pale blue jasper. The relief portrays King George III with a laurel crown and was originally modelled by Edward Burch in 1785. The original design appears to have been adapted from a cornelian medal produced for the coronation. This medallion has been lapidiary polished and is also decorated with a thin line of slip which forms the smooth white oval border.

  • Type of object: Plaques and medallions/portrait medallion
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD
  • Year produced: 1785
  • Body: Jasper
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: dipped, ornamented, sprigged, lapidary polished
  • Accession number: 5129k
  • Dimensions: 52 mm (length), 37 mm (width), 3 mm (depth)

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Related people

  • 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.

  • Edward Burch Modeller

    Edward Burch - Modeller (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.


  • Jasper


    A fine-grained stoneware body developed by Josiah Wedgwood I in the mid 1770s, and the ceramic ware most associated with the name. The most famous colour combination known today is the traditional blue and white, which is usually decorated with classical bas reliefs.

    With changes in architectural styles and the rise in popularity of neo-classical styles of interior decoration Josiah Wedgwood began a series of experiments to create a new ceramic material that would complement the new fashions. Thousands of meticulously recorded experiments were carried out to make a stoneware body that was capable of taking a mineral oxide stain throughout. The search for the jasper body absorbed much of Wedgwood's energy and time, the result being his most important contribution to ceramic history.

    The majority of the actual trials were carried out between December 1772 and December 1774, Josiah writing on the 17 March of the latter year: ‘have for some time past been reviewing my experiments, & I find such Roots, such Seeds as would open & branch out wonderfully if I could nail myself down to the cultivation of them for a year or two'.

    By January 1775 he was ‘absolute' in the production of jasper with coloured grounds. He was also in a position to advertise that he could manufacture bas reliefs, ranging from large plaques to small cameos for mounting as jewellery. The range of colours steadily increased, and by March 1776 Josiah was sending his first specimens of yellow to London. By September experiments were in hand for black jasper. Certainly by Spring of 1777 he was carrying out further experiments to perfect a surface ‘dip' to provide deeper coloured grounds for his cameos; and by the middle of December 1777, he was able to offer Bentley a choice of ‘Green - yellow - lalock [lilac] etc. to the colour of the rooms', referring to the tones favoured by their mutual acquaintance the architect Robert Adam.