George Washington by Eccleston (Medals & Medallions)

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Front of George Washington Medal. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.Artist/Maker: David Eccleston[1]

Created: 1805

Origin/Purchase: England

Materials: gold-plated bronze

Dimensions: 7.62 (3 in.)

Provenance: David Eccleston; by gift to Thomas Jefferson; by purchase to John Hartwell Cocke at the Dispersal Sale in 1827; by descent to Mrs. Mazyck Wilson Shields; by bequest to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1943

Accession Number: 1943-7

Location: Parlor

Historical Notes: David Eccleston sent Jefferson this medal honoring Washington in 1807, along with two others that he wished forwarded to Bushrod Washington, George Washington's nephew, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall.[2] Eccleston believed the medal to be the largest and in the highest relief that had been struck in England "for some time."[3] Jefferson was all the more pleased with Eccleston's work because the artist was British:

"That our own nation should entertain sentiments of gratitude and reverence for the great character who is the subject of your medallion, is a matter of duty. His disinterested and valuable services to them have rendered it so; but such a monument to his memory by the member of another community, proves a zeal for virtue in the abstract, honorable to him who inscribes it, as to him whom it commemorates."[4]

This medal was one of at least six images of Washington at Monticello; its location in the house in Jefferson's time is unknown.[5]

Footnotes

  1. This article is based on Stein, Worlds, 242.
  2. Eccleston also included an engraving of the medal and an 1805 broadside describing the medal and Washington's qualities. David Eccleston to Thomas Jefferson, May 20, 1807. Recipient copy available online in the Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Jefferson to Eccleston, Washington, November 21, 1807, in L&B, 11:396-397. Polygraph copy available online in the Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress.
  5. Catalogue.

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Discussion

says

The name of the publisher of this medal was actually Daniel Eccleston, not David Eccleston as mentioned above. A British Condor Token dated 1794 (DH 57-58) confirms this, and the citation as David was likely a transcription error.

-mattorsini

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