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Medals: CM.2111-2003

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Object information


Briot, Nicholas (Die-engraver)
London (Mint)


Lucy Harington, wife of the 3rd duke of Bedford, was one of the most interesting and vivacious women in court circles. She was a friend of James I’s queen, Anne of Denmark, and daughter, Elizabeth of Bohemia, and a patroness of John Donne, Ben Jonson and Indigo Jones, who designed a number of Masque costumes for her. A portrait at Woburn Abbey shows her in one of these, wearing a plume of heron feathers similar to that shown on the medal. The medal of Lucy Harington is only known from this piece, which may well have been the sole specimen produced for presentation to the sitter. It was unknown to Hawkins (Medallic Illustrations), and first surfaced in 1981 at a Christies sale (London, 17 February 1981, lot 358). The medal complements the Fitzwilliam Museum’s superb miniature by Oliver showing a half-length figure plausibly identified as Lucy Harington.

Nicholas Briot (c.1579-c.1646) was a celebrated French coin engraver, medallist and inventor of minting machinery. He held the post of engraver-general at the Paris mint (1606-25), but in Summer 1625 moved to Britain where he became the principal die engraver at the Royal Mint and master of the mint in Edinburgh (1635-9). During the Civil War he was attached to the king’s court. This silver medal, produced shortly after his arrival in England, is of an exquisite quality that only Briot was capable of at this period.


History note: Morton and Eden sale 4 (21 May 2003), lot 1133; ex Christies 17 Feb. 1981, lot 358.

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (2003-05-21) by Morton & Eden Ltd


Production date: AD 1625


Unique and unpublished

Components of the work

Object composed of silver Height 53 mm Width 42 mm

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: bust left wearing coronet ruff and plume of heron feathers

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Marginal inscription

Inscription present: serpent with tail coiled around its head

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Marginal inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.2111-2003
Primary reference Number: 166736
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 9 December 2020 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Medals" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-05-24 03:01:49

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