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eMedals-United Kingdom. A Colonial and Indian Exhibition Award Medal 1886

Item: GB6883

United Kingdom. A Colonial and Indian Exhibition Award Medal 1886



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United Kingdom. A Colonial and Indian Exhibition Award Medal 1886

In bronze, obverse illustrating the left-facing bust of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later Edward VII (1841-1910), surrounded by the inscription "ALBERT EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT" and engraved marked "L.C. WYON F." (Leonard Wyon), reverse inscribed "COLONIAL AND INDIAN EXHIBITION LONDON 1886" within a wreath of oak leaves, measuring 52 mm in diameter, extremely fine. In its hardshelled case of issue, dark brown pebbled exterior, inside lid lined in blue satin, padded and maker marked "RALPH HEATON & SONS / THE MINT / BIRMINGHAM", navy blue felt recessed medal bed, wear evident on the exterior, case fine.


Footnote: The Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 was a very substantial exhibition held in South Kensington in London, and intended (in the words of the then Prince of Wales) "to stimulate commerce and strengthen the bonds of union now existing in every portion of her Majesty's Empire". The exhibition was opened by Queen Victoria, and when it closed had received 5.5 million visitors. It was housed in a collection of purpose-built buildings designed in an Indian style. Exhibits shown included a Māori tomb from New Zealand, a ceremonial sword from the colony of Lagos, a grasshopper swatter from the Straits Settlements, and Albert Bierstadt's painting of the Bahama Islands After A Norther was displayed in the West Indian gallery, and admired by the Prince of Wales. The India artware section was split into different areas representing the different princely states. The Rajputana entrance was a large Jaipur gate constructed of and provided by the then Maharaja of Jaipur. The Gwalior gateway which had been displayed at the Calcutta International Exhibition (1883) was loaned by the Victoria and Albert Museum. Several dozen Indians were imported, reputedly from the Agra jail, to serve as living exhibits; they were described as artisans. It appears that they were trained in their crafts as part of the British Empire's long-term project to "reform the criminal castes". Approximately 5,000 medals were struck, engraved by Leonard Wyon and minted in Birmingham by Ralph Heaton & Sons, who charged £145 per 1,000 medals. The medals were presented with a diploma to each person who took part in the Indian and Colonial exhibition, the recipient's name not inscribed.

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