"Three Graces" crown

Medalist: William Wyon British

Not on view

The Peluso collection of English coins reveals the extraordinary accuracy achieved by the Royal Mint late in the reign of George III (r. 1760–1820). The superiority of its coinage owed much to the introduction of steam-powered minting machinery. Only three gold specimens of the "Three Graces" crown are said to have been struck; it was never intended for general circulation. The dies were painstakingly prepared so that the matte finish of the raised areas sets them apart from the brilliantly burnished background. The trio on the reverse represents Ireland (with her attribute, the harp), Britain (with the Union flag on her shield), and Scotland (beside a thistle). They are more decently clad than the figures in Antonio Canova's marble group of the Three Graces but are manifestly inspired by them, hence the nickname. The second version of Canova's group, now shared by the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, was famous in England even before it was shipped there in 1818.

"Three Graces" crown, Medalist: William Wyon (British, Birmingham 1795–1851 Brighton), Gold, British, London

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