Jump to content
CoinPeople.com

A tale of two engravers


Which British engraver was the best?  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Which British engraver was the best?

    • Benedetto Pistrucci (1784-1855)
      6
    • William Wyon (1795-1851)
      8


Recommended Posts

Ask any British coin collector to name two engravers of British coinage and surely William Wyon and Benedetto Pistrucci would be at the top of the list. One was an Englishman, the other was an Italian. Both were excellent artists in their own right, both created coins that have left their impression upon generations of collectors over the last two centuries (for good or for worse).

 

Pistrucci was a larger than life figure than caused controversy where ever he seemed to go, having upset various masters of the mint and George IV he managed to get himself sidelined and practically booted out of the mint altogether. Although one must respect Pistrucci for his principles, namely refusing to copy another artist's work or even base his own work on that of another. His other principle was to totally turn designs on their head, he had no respect for tradition. He turned Britannia and made her face the opposite way, he portrayed king's as they really looked and refused to flatter them at all. He heavily garnished his obverses with all kinds of complex design elements. He swept away the old designs, brought in a "naked guy on a horse" and called him St George. He designed obverse and reverses and did medals too.

 

One particular medal was designed by Pistrucci to commemorate the victory of Wellington over Napoleon at Waterloo, the dies for the medal were begun in 1819 and the obverse featured the four allied sovereigns that had triumphed over Napoleon. Due to Pistrucci's attitude and his knack fior upsetting people he felt that this would probably be his last job for the mint, but whilst ever the medal was being designed he was still getting a salary, thus he took his time. The medal was finally finished in 1849, by this time practically everyone the medal had been produced for, including all the king's on the obverse were dead. Although the Duke of Wellington was still around, so presumably he still got his copy. :ninja:

 

With Pistrucci's expected appointment to the position of chief engraver (a position he had held unoffically) not forth coming due to his tempermental nature. A certain William Wyon was chosen to succeed to the position left vacant since the departure of Lewis Pingo some years earlier. William Wyon became famous for other reasons than Pistrucci. Wyon like his rival was equally as talented but more agreeable.

 

He produced some of the most acclaimed coins of the period, the 1826-30 George IV portrait, the William IV obverse, and then his real rise to legendary status hit full swing during the early years of Victoria's reign, the Una and the Lion £5 coin, the young head portrait of Victoria that the Queen was reportedly delighted with. (So delighted she kept it unchanged for 50 years). Then came the Gothic Crown and florins which the Queen was even more stunned by.

 

Both were artists without question, both showed extreme talent in their art. One designed some of the most beautiful British coins to have ever been minted the other designed some of the most notorious, most recognised and the most successful British coin design of all time (even to this day) without exception.

 

Beauty or success? Wyon or Pistrucci?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad you think this is a hard one to choose between. I've been having trouble deciding.

 

I thought you would have gone for Wyon, i thought i would have gone for Wyon too. But despite the fact that i prefer Wyon's coins because they look more æsthetically pleasing to me than Pistrucci's, i personally feel that Pistrucci was more innovative and ultimately with his St. George and the Dragon (not my favourite design) more successful, thus Pistrucci i went for.

 

 

Can i change my vote now? :ninja:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wyon just.......for his Obverses on Godless and Gothic florins.

I happen to like Pistrucci's George and Dragon which I would welcome back on say a £10 silver coin.

I'm also biased but Croker and Ochs pulled out the stops on George 1 copper

plain and simple the whole series are just yummy. :ninja:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm afraid John Roettier wipes the floor with all of them! :ninja:

 

I would have to say that John Roettier and John Croker are my two favourites.

 

John Roettier designed the Charles II & James II coins. His sons Norbert and James were responsible for the William and Mary + the early William III issues.

 

John Croker started on Queen Anne and worked right through George I and did the young head George II coins. Before he was replaced by John Tanner.

 

 

One of the worst was Thomas Pingo (If you've seen the post 1774 ornamental shield guineas the obverses are just not up to much at all). Infact the rather basic spade guineas had better obverses.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm afraid John Roettier wipes the floor with all of them! :ninja:

 

I would have to say that John Roettier and John Croker are my two favourites.

 

I'd probably agree, but he didn't really have any competition of the likes Wyon vs. Pistrucci.

 

 

One of the worst was Thomas Pingo (If you've seen the post 1774 ornamental shield guineas the obverses are just not up to much at all). Infact the rather basic spade guineas had better obverses.

 

Although Pingo's coinage was decidedly under-par, their family's medals were something quite else.

 

2956b.jpg

2956a.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're wrong there Oli about John Roettier not having competition. Surely you've heard of the Petition Crown? Thomas Simon was a particularly formidable opponent. Personally i still prefer Roettier to Simon, but the latter was incredibly good at his job. The only problem was Simon had been working on the coinage immediately prior to the Restoration and thus had designed the Cromwellian pieces, which Charles II took to be an admission that Simon supported Cromwell's authority. Thus Simon didn't get the job. The dutchman got it instead.

 

 

The Pingos are definately not my favourites (after Gillick and Maklouf, oh dear that was a mistake with those Edward VIII patterns he did). However it seems the Pingos were more talented with that medal there. 1715? Is that really Thomas Pingo's work? Or is it a different T Pingo?

 

 

Nohope - H Wilson Parker's farthing, i take it you mean the Wren farthing? Personally i prefer Britannia myself, although since if we're getting into ornithology on this one i'd have to admit out of all the British wild birds i think Wrens are my favourite. So i like the coin design for that reason alone.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love all British wild birds,wrens,nurses,secretaries and female art students although Mrs Peter and my medication has helped.... :ninja:

Link to post
Share on other sites
I love all British wild birds,wrens,nurses,secretaries and female art students although Mrs Peter and my medication has helped.... :ninja:

 

Police women, dental assistants... infact women in uniform generally.

 

Nothing like a spot of ornithology on an afternoon is there, or a morning...

 

 

 

Naturally i wouldn't dream of doing such a thing... ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently I have been placed at Peter Towers so picking up my youngsters at 3:30

and may I say this hot weather has proved to me that Mrs Average young mum has been sunbathing in the garden drinking white wine.....with a couple of kids in tow wearing my tightest shorts...large size...if you know what I mean...the opportunity is there.

Of course infidelity is not on the menu as we all have MP3 players :ninja:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wyon's Young Head Victoria is my favorite coin obverse image, so Wyon gets my vote. I shouldn't even be allowed a vote, though, being as I'm a total imbecile where Royal Mint engravers are concerned.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
You're wrong there Oli about John Roettier not having competition.

Of course he had competition, but I said not of the likes of W. vs P. The Petition Crown was really his only major threat which he defeated with aplomb. Wyon and Pistrucci were battling for years.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Pisctrucci for me! If only for the simple fact that he designed what i find to be the most beautiful reverse of any coin every minted, anywhere; the GB Crown. I LOVE the George and Dragon motif that he designed. when well struck on a Crown, it almost seems high-relief and incredibly well detailed.

 

 

Doug

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...