Ref: 000011
  • Designer

    T. Canu (active 1860s)

  • Detail

    Bois durci, with metal hanger

    15 cm (diameter)

    French, circa 1862

  • Signed

    ‘T. CANU SCULP’ (bottom left, recto)

  • Provenance

    Made as a souvenir for the London International Exhibition, 1862; [ … ]; private collection

  • Collection

    Private collection

  • Notes

    This large medallion depicts Britannia crowning allegorical figures representing science and industry.  An identical medallion is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2012.48).

    Bois durci is a form of moulded wood pulp made from sawdust, mixed with an egg or blood albumen.  The raw material was then formed in a steel mould under steam heat and pressure.  It was invented by François Charles Lepage, who patented  the process in Great Britain in 1858. The material enjoyed its greatest popularity between 1855 and the 1880s, and was used for picture frames, commemorative medallions and small scale decorative objects.

    The present medallion was produced on the occasion of the London International Exhibition, 1862, and also commemorates the tweny-fifth anniversary of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne (see verso).