Eisler details background of Martin Folkes

Researcher examines life of numismatist, Royal Society leader
Published : 11/27/11
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In the fall issue of The Medal, published by the British Art Medal Society, William Eisler contributes the second installment of a series of articles devoted to “The construction of the image of Martin Folkes (1690-1754).”

Folkes was a British numismatist, antiquary and president of the Royal Society.

Eisler pays particular attention to Sir Edmund Prideaux’s Grand Tour through Italy in 1739 and the Folkes medal (1739 to 1740). Prideaux was a British lawyer and member of Parliament who served as attorney general to Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century.

Folkes and Prideaux were close friends and fellow Freemasons. Prideaux oversaw the shaping of Folkes’ image by supervising the execution of the Folkes medal in Rome as well as his portrait in oil by English painter Thomas Hudson, according to Eisler. Prideaux kept Folkes informed on the progress on the medal during its period of creation.

“A Freemason, bibliophile and amateur architect, Prideaux shared Folkes’ passion for antiquities, medals, and art, in addition to astronomy — an interest fostered by their mutual friend and Masonic brother, George Graham,” according to Eisler.

In another article, Keith Hinde discusses the court medals of the guilds of the City of London. David Pickup examines Ernest Gillick’s 51-millimeter bronze National Emergency medal, issued by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Co. for presentation to volunteers who had served the company during the general strike of 1926. Ivan Mirnik studies a small segment of the enormous medallic portfolio from the Croatian medalist and sculptor Ivo Kerdić (1881 to 1953).

Phoebe Stannard contributes insights into her work as a medallic artist. The British Art Medal Society named her New Medalist of the Year, 2009-2010.

For BAMS membership information, email the society at membership-bams@tiscali.co.uk or consult the BAMS website at www.bams.org.uk. ■

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