Cast silver gilt medal of King Charles I by Thomas Rawlins


British Museum

British Museum

During the English Civil War (1642-51) both the Parliamentary and Royalist factions commissioned medals to be given in recognition of soldierly valour. The gift of medals, a practise in Britain since the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), was ritualized. Most of these pieces were therefore made with attached loops so that the medals could be worn on a chain or sewn onto clothing. Thomas Rawlins (about 1620-70) had been appointed Chief Engraver at the Mint by Charles I (reigned 1625-49) and remained loyal to the king even after he had fled London. In May 1643 Charles ordered the Wardens of the Mint at Oxford, where he was headquartered, to have a medal made which would be worn 'on the breast of every man who shall be certified under the hands of their Commanders-in-Chief to have done us faithful service in the forlorn hope'. It was also commanded 'that no soldier at anytime do sell nor any of our subjects presume to buy or wear any of these said badges other than they to whom we shall give the same'. The medal shown here, on which are depicted Charles and his son, the future Charles II, would also have been worn by a supporter of the royalist cause.

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  • Title: Cast silver gilt medal of King Charles I by Thomas Rawlins
  • Date Created: 1643/1643
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 42.000mm; Width: 32.000mm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: cast; high relief; chased
  • Subject: king/queen; prince/princess
  • Registration number: M.9082
  • Production place: Made in British Isles
  • Producer: Designed by Rawlins, Thomas
  • Material: silver; gilt
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: From Hawkins, Edward


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