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John Howard 1 Medal + 1 Token

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I always thought that debtors made good goal keepers! :ninja:


Actually I've been reading Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography, which describes London's prisons, and the reforms by nineteenth-century well-intentioned folk, in some detail. I never knew that prisons (until 20th cent.) served mainly for holding debtors until their payments had been made. Some people spent most of their lives in gaol/jail for the want of a few pounds. Dickens's father spent some time in prison for non-payment of a debt, leaving little Charles to fend for himself at a young age.

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A good read for the background to Dickens victorian London is "London Labour and the London Poor" by Henry Mayhew and "The London Underworld in the Victorian Period: Authentic First-Person Accounts by Beggars, Thieves and Prostitutes" also by Mayhew.


Another group that suffered imprisonment or worse were nonconformist like John Bunyan author of "Pilgrim's Progress" or radicals like John Wilkes.


Another debtor jailed was Charles Goodyear he traveled to Paris and London to promote his vulcanized rubber, spending large amounts of money for the travel and the promotion . It was money he didn't have, and he spent some time in a French debtors' prison. He died in 1860, back in New York, more in debt than ever.

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I have a Conder Token with him on it but he looks much different than how he is depicted on both of those. Those are very nice, I love the portrait on the medal but I am a big fan of the name Barre.






Half Penny Depicting John Howard

Payable at H. Hickmans Warehouse Birmingham

Issued by Henry Hickman / wholesale and retail dealer in Iron

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I have the same token, Birmingham Hickmans 1/2 Penny D & H 144. 30mm not as nice as yours though.


As you say he looks quite different, I am assuming that the image on the Hickmans was probably taken from that drawing that you posted.


The drawing looks a bit like a caricature, which was common for periodicals and pamphlets of that time.


Check this link out, you can click on 'View this portrait in detail' below his picture to get a larger image that is zoomable Link to the National Portrait Gallery


Perhaps he was just not one of the pretty people, what do you think?

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Middx. Newgate 1/2 Penny D&H 396. Bronze 29mm


Here is one of the prisons that debtors, among others, were jailed in. When I was a child the saying 'as black as Newgates knocker' was commonly used in England.


The Old Bailey stands on the site now.

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well, I am a big fan of Barre and without doubt his portrayal stands out as the most pleasing (IMO) but like much of his work I feel he idealized the subject retaining most prominent features but downplaying them a bit and depicting him as young and vibrant. Like his portrait on Napoleon III coins. So while it is just a masterful work as is usual, if he was homely, he wont look near as homely when engraved by Barre...I could be wrong.


With the somerset-bath 1/2 penny, the portrait is more representative, him in a more stylized depiction instead of a true portrait. Like late Roman coin portraits


With the hickmans 1/2 Penny, you have similar elements that you find in the Barre, a larger nose (more pronounced here), same angle to the forehead though less youthful in appearance, more human with little idealizing of the features, if not, as you say, a bit more caricature possibly. Not rare for these.


I figure the portrait you link to, or the one below, looks like what the man on the Barre medal would look like when he grows old, while less refined, the token shows a decent representation, more basic in style, of the man in the portraits I have seen.




So I figure, he might have, on a good day in his youth look as he does on the Barre medal. Otherwise I think he might have look a bit more like he does on the Conder, especially later in life. I did a bit of research on the guy when I got the Conder. Often you will find when researching figures from pre photo history that portraits often vary wildly. So its probably a little from one and a bit from the other. most good ones show many common features. :ninja:

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