Pistrucci Medal on Display May 1-2 at Pontypool Museum for Waterloo Bicentennial

By Pontypool Museum ……

18 June 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the victory of Britain and its allies at the Battle of Waterloo, the decisive battle that brought over 20 years of war in Europe and the wider world to an end.

Pontypool Museum, Monmouthshire
Pontypool Museum, Monmouthshire, south Wales. Photo: John Grayson

This summer, Pontypool Museum will host a small exhibition that explores the local impact of Waterloo through the stories of Monmouthshire people who were involved in the conflict.

The interesting display, produced by the museum’s volunteers, looks at the experiences of local men at Waterloo, including Thomas Jeremiah, who kept a diary of the events, and his relative John Jeremiah of the 23rd Regiment of Foot, the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Both men were local farmers who worked on the Hanbury Estates before fighting in the war.

The exhibition is illustrated with some reproductions of artwork from the Royal Collection, including work by Denis Deighton. Permission has also been granted for Sharpe’s Waterloo (1997)–featuring Game of Thrones star Sean Bean–to be screened at the museum, which will help give visitors an impression of what the battle would have been like.

Monmouthshire’s contribution to the conflict was not only on the battlefield. The display also explains how the globally important iron industry of south Wales produced the iron for cannon and ball during the Napoleonic wars.

Pistrucci Battle of Waterloo commemorative medal
Pistrucci medal obverse (L-R): King George IV of England, Emperor Francis I of Austria, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, King Friederich Wilhelm III of Prussia.

A Private View will take place at Pontypool Museum on Friday, 1 May, at 2 pm. In attendance will be representatives of the London Mint Office, who are also providing exhibits for the exhibition. These comprise a set of six medals including a replica of the Waterloo Campaign medal, plus a book outlining the history of Waterloo signed by the current Duke of Wellington. The Waterloo Campaign medal is historically significant as the first medal to be issued by the British Government to all soldiers present at the battle, regardless of their rank.

Pistrucci Battle of Waterloo commemorative medal
Pistrucci medal reverse; diameter: 139 mm (~5.47 in.)

In addition, for two days only from Friday 1 May to Saturday 2 May, there will be a special exhibition by the London Mint Office of the mammoth Pistrucci medal. It took renowned engraver Benedetto Pistrucci 30 years to complete the design of this medal due to its great size (139mm diameter) and complexity. By that time, the four sovereigns of the allied forces involved in the Battle of Waterloo for whom the medal was intended had died – and so the medal was never struck. 200 years on, the London Mint Office made history by producing the medal for the very first time to Pistrucci’s size specifications. From Sunday 3 May this will be replaced by a smaller version of the Pistrucci medal – still impressive at 89mm in diameter – as the full-size Pistrucci medal goes on tour.

All the medals at the Pontypool Waterloo exhibition have been created by the London Mint Office for Waterloo 200, the government-backed organization overseeing the commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, in partnership with Worcestershire Medal Service.

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About the London Mint Office

The London Mint Office is a trusted and respected partner for a large number of British coin collectors. Gold, silver, and other precious metals have fascinated mankind for many centuries, making coin collecting a popular hobby the world over. The London Mint Office is at the center of British numismatics, bringing the fascinating world of coin collecting to both existing and new collectors. Together with our sister organizations across Europe and China, the London Mint Office provides a wide range of coins from ancient to modern, originating from virtually every country in the world. Visit www.londonmintoffice.org for more information.

About Waterloo 200

Waterloo 200 Ltd is an organization approved and supported by the government to oversee the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. It can bestow official status upon organizations that it feels would make a valuable contribution to the celebrations and, indeed, the general good of the countries involved.
In 2009 Waterloo 200 Ltd was granted charitable status. For more information visit www.waterloo200.org.

About Worcestershire Medal Service

Worcestershire Medal Service is one of the largest suppliers of State Honours in the UK. Granted a Royal Warrant as Medallists to Her Majesty The Queen in 2008, they are best known for the Diamond Jubilee Medal issued in 2012 and its sister organisation Gladman & Norman who designed and produce the Elizabeth Cross. They currently supply UK insignia ranging from the GCB to the BEM as well as awards to countries in Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. It is this production heritage that lead Waterloo 200 to choose Worcestershire Medal Service as their production partner. Visit www.worcmedals.com for more information.

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