Waterloo prints in medal form

Full set of The Wellington Picture Commemorative Medallion – £560 at Lockdales.

Among the most successful printing projects marking the Napoleonic Wars were the series of aquatints by Thomas Sutherland (1785-1838) after watercolours by the young William Heath (c.1795-1840) titled The Martial Achievements of Great Britain and Her Allies from 1799 to 1815.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

Thirteen large paper parts including a total of 53 hand-coloured prints were published by James Jenkins of The Strand between December 1814 and December 1815.

Perhaps on the advice of Heath, the Bond Street engraver, painter and publisher Edward Orme (1775-1848) took the project a step further with the production of The Wellington Picture Commemorative Medallion.

Thirteen scenes of battles from 1808-14 were reproduced as circular miniatures (this time the aquatintist was Matthew Dubourg of Lambeth) and offered in a 3in (7.5cm) bronze canister with a relief of England’s Great Captain Arthur Duke of Wellington on one side and the seated angel of Victory on the other.

Full set

An example offered at Lockdales (18% buyer’s premium) near Ipswich on March 28-29, included the full set of miniatures, although it was minus the red leather case titled Record of British Valour Picture Medal in which many were originally housed. Estimated at £400-600, it made £560.

The sale, held online during the Covid-19 lockdown, was the largest the saleroom had ever held with a record total of £601,000.

It prompted Lockdales numismatist Chris Elmy to comment: “[The crisis] doesn’t seem to have dampened spirits in the market for collectables, although there are economic factors at play here, particularly a surge in the popularity of gold, and confidence in portable collectables as reliable assets.”

However, he added: “A simpler observation may be that there are a lot of collectors cooped up at home presently, with plenty of time to browse and enjoy their hobbies.”