We at the London Mint Office are very proud to launch a classical masterpiece, reborn and redesigned centuries later by a member of the original artists own family. It has been 200 years coming… Now the wait is finally over:
The Story Behind The Masterpiece
2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Britain’s most famous gold coin, the modern Sovereign. With only a few exceptions, every UK Sovereign struck since 1817 has featured the same depiction of St George slaying the dragon. This now iconic design was created by Italian sculptor and engraver Benedetto Pistrucci (1783-1855) who became Chief Medalist for The Royal Mint.
Benedetto Pistrucci’s famous George and the Dragon design.
Angela Pistrucci, a keen artist, grew up largely unaware of her family’s illustrious history. When her grandfather mentioned that the Pistrucci family came to England in the early nineteenth century and that Benedetto worked in the Royal Mint, she imagined that he worked in the basement, stoking the fires that melted the metal for the coins.
It was only when she began to research her family history as an adult that Angela uncovered the truth of the extraordinary talent that ran through her family. The discovery certainly helped her make sense of her lifelong fascination with cameos and relief sculpture.
A model poses for Angela Pistrucci during her sketching of the 2017 Sovereign.
While in Rome, Angela began working on a new Saint George and the Dragon design to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the modern sovereign. Her work – seen on the 2017 Pistrucci Sovereign – presents this ancient story in a contemporary style, while still reflecting the legacy of Benedetto Pistrucci’s iconic 1817 sovereign. Drawing on some of the early depictions of Saint George and on the history and art that surrounded her in Rome as well on her own family connection to the city, Angela’s 2017 Pistrucci Sovereign recasts Benedetto’s Greek saint as a Roman soldier.
Angela Pistrucci’s original drawing for the 1817 Sovereign.
It draws on the composition of the 1817 sovereign, featuring the rearing horse, the rider pulled close in to his horse’s neck, the twist of the dragon’s neck, and the re-appearance of the spear. Where Benedetto’s horse’s head could be considered too small, that seen on the 2017 Pistrucci Sovereign is correctly proportioned at about three times the length of a man’s head.
|Angela Pistrucci’s 2017 Sovereign Design|
“It is very much its own coin; the position of Saint George and his horse to face left brings balance to the composition and the dragon climbing up the side adds interest and movement while making excellent use of the shape of the coin. The 2017 Pistrucci Sovereign is undoubtedly a new Pistrucci masterpiece”. – Dan Penney, Senior Creative Manager for The London Mint Office.
The coin, exclusive to the London Mint Office, is set to be unveiled at the World Coin Fayre in Berlin February 2017. Don’t forget to head over to our Facebook page for all the VIP news on the Sovereign including the video of the first strike as well as a live interview with Angela herself in February at the Berlin Coin Fayre.
|The 2017 Sovereign by Angela Pistrucci exclusive to the London Mint Office|
Source: London Mint Office