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Portrait of Queen Adelaide on  the Coronation Medal of 1831
Portrait of Queen Adelaide on
the Coronation Medal of 1831





Portrait model of Wyon
by F W Kullrich, 1851

Other portraits

His skill in portraiture is not of course restricted to representations of Queen Victoria. He it was who engraved coinage portraits of George IV and William IV, though these were not entirely his own work since they were based on busts by the sculptor Francis Chantrey. Many medallic portraits, both private and official, also testify to his genius and his head of Queen Adelaide for the Coronation medals of 1831 was additionally remarkable for the unaccustomed speed with which it was finished. So established was his reputation that he was commissioned to prepare a portrait of Queen Maria II for the coinage of Portugal, not the easiest of tasks if the queen really was as plain as William IV ungallantly insisted.

Portrait model of Wyon  by F W Kullrich, 1851

Remarkable talent

It seems scarcely credible, given the precocity of his talent, that there should ever have been doubts about his ability and that a Master of the Royal Mint, no less, should have advised him not to waste his time attempting to do heads. Perhaps these doubts were created by a modesty of manner so unlike the egotistical assertiveness of his great rival Benedetto Pistrucci but, whatever their cause, they were quickly dispelled by an output of coins and medals that remains truly remarkable.