Instead of pencil or computer mouse, two Royal Mint engravers started
with a paintbrush.
For their latest series of coins, issued as a set by the Royal Mint,
Glyn Davies and Laura Clancy captured watercolor-style portraits of
some of Britain’s best loved natural landmarks. Creating real
watercolors was the first step in the process that brought the designs
to Proof .925 fine silver £5 coins.
Once the watercolors were created, Clancy and Davies began “the
painstaking process of engraving every last detail onto the tools
needed to strike these collectable coins,” according to the Royal
Mint. A trichromatic color printing process rarely used by the Royal
Mint was then used to recreate the subtle coloring of the designers’
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The scenes depict the Giant’s Causeway, the Lake District, Snowdonia
and the White Cliffs of Dover, said to be among the most visited
natural attractions in the British Isles, enticing thousands of
visitors each year. The coins form part of an ongoing series
highlighting the best known natural and architectural landmarks across
the British Isles.
The designers worked to capture a real sense of place, representing
the changing qualities of the British weather and to create a color
effect similar to that of an Impressionist painting, according to the
In a statement, Royal Mint Chief Engraver Gordon Summers said,
“Instead of a solid layer of colour we used the trichromatic process
to create subtle tints. In effect, it’s the difference between
painting with oils or with watercolours — it’s a softer effect that
allows the metal beneath to show through. The process gives the
designs an almost ‘Impressionist’ feel — reflecting the shifting light
and colour of the landscapes.”
Clancy studied three-dimensional crafts at the University of
Brighton and previously taught art and metalwork.
Davies worked as an animator before gaining a master’s degree in
post production at Bournemouth University. He subsequently worked as a
set designer, video editor and motion graphic designer before joining
the Royal Mint.
The Proof 2016 Portrait of Britain coins feature the Jody Clark
effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
The coins each weigh 28.28 grams and measure 38.61 millimeters in
diameter. The coins have a limit of 2,016 sets, for £295 per set.
Delivery of the coins is slated to begin in mid-September, according
to the Royal Mint.
For more information about the coin set and other British coins,
visit the Royal Mint website.