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Queen Victoria’s children

The Royal Mint Museum contains a charming group of medallic portraits of seven of the children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. They appear to have been made in 1850 and therefore do not include the two children who were born after that date. 

 

Queen Victoria’s children

 

The skilfully-executed portraits are the work of Leonard Wyon, a member of the extremely talented family of engravers whose name is so well known to numismatists. The son of William Wyon, he was actually born in the Royal Mint in 1826 and, though he never succeeded his father as Chief Engraver, he enjoyed an active association with the Mint that was to last until his death in 1891. These particular portraits, however, were not commissioned by the Royal Mint and little seems to be known at present about the circumstances in which they were prepared, but for some reason the dies have survived in the Royal Mint Museum, along with single-sided bronze impressions roughly the size of a half-crown.

Corresponding reverse dies also survive, showing the name of the Prince or Princess and the date of birth.