Thomas Wyon

Last updated

Thomas Wyon the Younger (1792- 22/23 September 1817) was an English medallist and chief engraver at the Royal Mint.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Royal Mint minter of coins in the United Kingdom

The Royal Mint is a government-owned mint that produces coins for the United Kingdom. Operating under the name Royal Mint Ltd, the mint is a limited company that is wholly owned by Her Majesty's Treasury and is under an exclusive contract to supply all the nation's coinage. As well as minting circulating coins for use domestically and internationally, the mint also produces planchets, commemorative coins, various types of medals and precious metal bullion. The mint exports to an average of 60 countries a year, making up 70% of its total sales. Formed over 1,100 years ago, the mint was historically part of a series of mints that became centralised to produce coins for the Kingdom of England, all of Great Britain and eventually most of the British Empire. The original London mint from which the Royal Mint is the successor was established in 886 AD and operated within the Tower of London for approximately 800 years before moving to what is now called Royal Mint Court where it remained until the 1960s. As Britain followed the rest of the world in decimalising its currency, the Mint moved from London to a new 38 acres (15 ha) plant in Llantrisant, Wales where it has remained since.



Wyon was born in Birmingham. He was apprenticed to his father, Thomas Wyon (1767–1830), the chief engraver of the King's seals, who taught him the art of engraving on steel; subsequently he studied at the sculpture school of the Royal Academy in London, where he earned silver medals in both the antique and the life class. In 1809, he struck his first medal, presented to Lieutenant Pearce, R.N. In 1810, he won the gold medal of the Society of Arts for medal engraving; the die, representing a head of Isis, was purchased by the society and used for striking its prize medals. From this period he produced many medals for schools, societies, Pitt clubs, and other institutions. [1]

Birmingham Major city in the English Midlands, 2nd highest population of UK cities

Birmingham is a major city in the West Midlands, England and is the second-largest city and metropolitan area in England and the United Kingdom, with roughly 1.1 million inhabitants within the city area and 3.8 million inhabitants within the metropolitan area. This also makes Birmingham the 17th largest city and 8th largest metropolitan area in the European Union. Birmingham is commonly referred to as the nation's "second city".

Thomas Wyon the elder (1767–1830) of the Wyon family was an English engraver of dies, who became Chief Engraver of the Seals.

Steel alloy made by combining iron and other elements

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, and sometimes other elements. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, it is a major component used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.

On 20 November 1811, Wyon was appointed probationary engraver to the Royal Mint, and was employed in making the bank tokens for England and Ireland, and coins for the British colonies and for Hanover. He also engraved his medal commemorative of the peace and his Manchester Pitt medal. On 13 Oct. 1815 he was appointed chief engraver to the mint, being then only twenty-three. The next year he brought out the new silver coinage for the United Kingdom (half-crown, shilling, and sixpence), designing the reverses himself. In 1817 he struck the maundy money, and began to make his pattern crown-piece in rivalry of Thomas Simon. [1]

Half crown (British coin) denomination of British money worth half of a crown

The half crown was a denomination of British money, equivalent to two shillings and sixpence, or one-eighth of a pound. The half crown was first issued in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI. No half crowns were issued in the reign of Mary, but from the reign of Elizabeth I half crowns were issued in every reign except Edward VIII, until the coins were discontinued in 1967.

Shilling (British coin) British pre-decimalisation coin

The shilling (1/-) was a coin worth one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence. It was first minted in the reign of Henry VII as the testoon, and became known as the shilling from the Old English scilling, sometime in the mid-sixteenth century, circulating until 1990. The word bob was sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. "ten bob note". Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five new pence. It was made from silver from its introduction in or around 1503 until 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.

Sixpence (British coin)

The sixpence, sometimes known as a tanner or sixpenny bit, is a coin that was worth one-fortieth of a pound sterling, or six pence. It was first minted in the reign of Edward VI, and circulated until 1980. Following decimalisation in 1971 it had a value of ​2 12 new pence. The coin was made from silver from its introduction in 1551 until 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.

Signs of consumption now began to appear, and Wyon — a modest and talented artist — died on 23 (or 22) September 1817 at the Priory Farmhouse, near Hastings. He was buried in the graveyard attached to Christ Church, Southwark. [1]

Tuberculosis Infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing mucus, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Hastings Town and Borough in England

Hastings is a seaside town and borough in East Sussex on the south coast of England, 24 mi (39 km) east to the county town of Lewes and 53 mi (85 km) south east of London. The town gives its name to the Battle of Hastings, which took place 8 mi (13 km) to the north-west at Senlac Hill in 1066. It later became one of the medieval Cinque Ports. In the 19th century, it was a popular seaside resort, as the railway allowed tourists and visitors to reach the town. Today, Hastings is a fishing port with a beach-based fishing fleet. It had an estimated population of 92,855 in 2018.

His younger brother, Benjamin Wyon (1802–1858), his nephews, Joseph Shepherd Wyon (1836–1873) and Alfred Benjamin Wyon (1837–1884), and his cousin, William Wyon (1795–1851) were also distinguished medallists.

Benjamin Wyon English engraver of seals and medallist

Benjamin Wyon was an English engraver of seals, and medallist.

Joseph Shepherd Wyon was an English medallist and seal-engraver.

William Wyon Chief Engraver of the Royal Mint

William Wyon, was official chief engraver at the Royal Mint from 1828 until his death.


Among Wyon's medals may be mentioned: 1809, Pearce medal; 1810, Isis medal (re-engraved in 1813); medal of Wellington; 1812, Wooldridge medal; medal for Royal Naval College, Portsmouth; 1813, Manchester Pitt Club medal; ‘Upper Canada preserved;’ 1814, medals presented to the North American Indians; medal of the tsar of Russia struck during the visit of the Grand Duchess of Oldenburg to the English mint; treaty of Paris (published by Rundell & Co. from his ‘Peace checking the Fury of War,’ a design which had gained the gold medal of the Society of Arts); centenary of accession of house of Brunswick (for the corporation of Cork), and Liverpool Pitt club medal; 1815, Waterloo medal, with reverse, Victory, adapted from a Greek coin of Elis (Mayo, Medals, plate 22); and 1817, opening of Waterloo Bridge. Wyon also engraved (1813) seals for the Newcastle Antiquarian Society, the Chester Canal Company, and (c. 1815) the Limerick chamber of commerce. [1]

Wyon's engraving of Queen Victoria for the City of London medal was used as the basis for the design of the Penny Black, the world's first postage stamp. [2] Examples of the medal, in silver and bronze, are held in the R M Phillips Collection by the British Postal Museum & Archive.

Related Research Articles

Napoléon (coin) colloquial term for a former French gold coin

The Napoléon is the colloquial term for a former French gold coin. The coins were minted in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 40, 50, and 100 francs. This article focuses on the 20 franc coins issued during the reign of Napoléon Bonaparte, which are 21 mm in diameter, weigh 6.45 grams and, at 90% pure, contain 0.1867 troy ounces or 5.805 grams of pure gold. The coin was issued during the reign of Napoleon I and features his portrait on the obverse. The denomination continued in use through the 19th century and later French gold coins in the same denomination were generally referred to as "Napoléons". Earlier French gold coins are referred to as Louis or écu. Gold Napoléons have historically proven more resilient than other gold coins to economic forces, such as after the Suez crisis when unlike other coins Napoléons did not weaken.

Napoleonic era Wikimedia disambiguation page

The Napoleonic era is a period in the history of France and Europe. It is generally classified as including the fourth and final stage of the French Revolution, the first being the National Assembly, the second being the Legislative Assembly, and the third being the Directory. The Napoleonic era begins roughly with Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état, overthrowing the Directory, establishing the French Consulate, and ends during the Hundred Days and his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The Congress of Vienna soon set out to restore Europe to pre-French Revolution days. Napoleon brought political stability to a land torn by revolution and war. He made peace with the Roman Catholic Church and reversed the most radical religious policies of the Convention. In 1804 Napoleon promulgated the Civil Code, a revised body of civil law, which also helped stabilize French society. The Civil Code affirmed the political and legal equality of all adult men and established a merit-based society in which individuals advanced in education and employment because of talent rather than birth or social standing. The Civil Code confirmed many of the moderate revolutionary policies of the National Assembly but retracted measures passed by the more radical Convention. The code restored patriarchal authority in the family, for example, by making women and children subservient to male heads of households.

Benedetto Pistrucci Italian engraver

Benedetto Pistrucci was an Italian gem-engraver, medallist and coin engraver, probably best known for his Saint George and the Dragon design for the British sovereign coin. Pistrucci was commissioned by the British government to create the large Waterloo Medal, a project which took him thirty years to complete.

Allan G. Wyon British die-engraver, sculptor and cleric

Allan Gairdner Wyon FRBS RMS was a British die-engraver and sculptor and, in later life, vicar in Newlyn, Cornwall.

Sir William Charles Ross was an English portrait and portrait miniature painter of Scottish descent; early in his career, he was known for historical paintings. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1842.

George William de Saulles was a British medallist. He authored and designed the obverse of coins from the United Kingdom and its colonies under Queen Victoria and Edward VII of the United Kingdom

Waterloo Medal medal awarded to British soldiers who fought in the Waterloo campaign in 1815

It was announced in the London Gazette on 23 April 1816 that the Prince Regent had been graciously pleased, in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, to confer The Waterloo Medal upon every officer, non-commissioned officer and soldier of the British Army who took part in one or more of the following battles: Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo.

Leonard Charles Wyon English engraver

Leonard Charles Wyon was a British engraver of the Victorian era most notable for his work on the gold and silver coinage struck for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887 and the bronze coinage of 1860 with the second ("bun") head portrait, in use from 1860 to 1894.

Allan Wyon English medallist and seal-engraver

Allan Wyon (1843–1907) was an English medallist and seal-engraver.

Auguste-François Michaut French medallist

Auguste-François Michaut, was born in 1786 Paris and died in 1879 Versailles. He was a coin engraver of France and Holland, a medallist and sculptor.

Peter Wyon (1797-1822) was an engraver of medals and coins. He was born into a family who had a long tradition of dye-engraving. He was the son of George Wyon, as well as the brother of Thomas Wyon, with whom he went into business for a short time. Both his nephew, Thomas Wyon, and his son, William Wyon, held the position of Chief Engraver at the Royal Mint.

Wyon family German-English die-engravers and medallists (c.1760–1962)

The Wyon family was an English family of traditional dye-engravers and medallists, many of whom went on to work in prominent roles at the Royal Mint or as engravers in a family die business. Starting from Peter George (II) Wyon who migrated to England from Cologne, Germany many subsequent descendants of have made notable contribution to British numismatics. Over the course of the 19th century two member of the family became chief engraver at the Royal Mint with many more involved in coin design.

Chief Engraver of the Royal Mint is a senior position at the British Royal Mint who is responsible for overseeing the preparation of coin dies.

Chief Medallist of the Royal Mint was a senior position at the British Royal Mint responsible for the overseeing of medal production. Historically the position was created in 1828 as a compromise to allow Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci to be more involved in the mint's engraving process without becoming the Mint's chief engraver. Being a foreign born Italian, appointment of Pistrucci to the prestigious role of Chief Engraver would have proved too scandalous and therefore despite performing the duties of chief engraver he was awarded the title of Chief Medallist. The role of Chief Engraver previously held by Thomas Wyon was awarded to his cousin William Wyon who along with Pistrucci were required to share the wages of both the Chief Engraver and second engraver, much to their disliking. In his role of Chief Medallist, Pistrucci was left feeling bitter at the injustice against him, producing little work of note apart from his Waterloo Medal.

Waterloo Medal (Pistrucci)

The Waterloo Medal was designed by Italian-born sculptor Benedetto Pistrucci. He worked on it from 1819 to 1849, when the completed matrices were presented to Britain's Royal Mint. The medal was commissioned by the British Government in 1819 on the instructions of George IV while Prince Regent; copies were to be presented to the generals who had been victorious in the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, and to the leaders of Britain's allies. As most of the intended recipients had died by 1849, and relations with France had improved, the medals were never struck, though modern-day editions have been made for sale to collectors.

Jacques-Antoine Dassier (1715–1759) was a Genevan medallist. He was active in London, as James Anthony Dassier, from 1740 to the mid-1750s.

Christian Fueter Swiss sculptor and politician

Christian Fueter was a Swiss medalist and mint-master at Bern from 1792–1837.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Wyon, Thomas (1792-1817)". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. "Victorian Innovation: The Postage Stamp". The British Postal Museum & Archive . Retrieved 3 August 2009.

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Wyon, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica . 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.