William Wellesley Pole engraving
The engraving below is by C. Picart of William Wellesley Pole, drawn by J. Wright from W. Owen RA’s original picture. It was published in 1815, the year after Pole was appointed as Master of the Royal Mint. His appointment proved very fortunate, and he oversaw a great deal of technological and economic developments that altered the shape of the Royal Mint and of Britain. He energetically managed the renewal of coinage in 1816, supervised the production of the Waterloo Medal, reformed the administration of the Mint for a new industrial age, established the Royal Mint Museum and hired and encouraged the renowned Italian artist Benedetto Pistrucci.
Pole’s hard work was recognised by the press, which acknowledged his ‘diligence and anxiety in the discharge of his duty’. He was of the opinion that British coins should be perfectly produced on a technical scale, but also works of art in and of themselves. This dedication is demonstrated via Pistrucci’s design of St George and the Dragon for the 1817 sovereign, so iconic that it is still used on sovereigns today. Pole resigned as Master of the Mint in 1823 after a remarkable period of service that set a tone for the future of the Mint and its worldwide influence.