One of the oldest plaster models in the Royal Mint Museum dates back to the mid-19th century and is as spectacular as the medal to which it relates, the official prize medal for the Great Exhibition. Models begin to appear from this time because of a change that was taking place in technology whereby instead of directly engraving dies, artists could enlist the help of the reducing machine which allowed them to produce work at a relatively large size from which smaller copies at coin or medal size could be made.

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On this obverse model is the same dramatic relief that collectors will know from the Great Exhibition medals, and as with his Young Head portrait, William Wyon captured an attractive and sensitive likeness of Queen Victoria. The overall design, with its dolphins and trident, is very much of its time and the model itself is symbolic of a technology that was beginning to find its feet in mid-19th century Britain.

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