A medal awarded to Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, the firm founded by William Morris in 1861, attracted fierce bidding at our recent Fine & Decorative Arts and Antiques auction.
The 1862 London International Exhibition Winner’s medal, Class XXXIV, sold for £2,100 against an estimate of £200 - £300 to London decorative art specialists Blairman & Sons.
The 76mm diameter medal, designed by Leonard C Wyon is finely cast in bronze and features Britannia on one aspect and a laurel leaf engraving and the inscription ‘1862 Londini Honoris Causa’ on the reverse.
The works shown by the newly established firm at the 1862 London International Exhibition attracted much interest at the time, with the stained-glass Exhibit 6734 awarded this Winner’s Medal. The William Morris Gallery notes that seven stained glass panels designed by Gabriel Dante Rossetti showing the Parable of the Vineyard were also shown at the Exhibition prior to being installed in the Church of St Martin’s in Scarborough.
“It was a pleasure to sell this fascinating early piece of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co history at auction,” comments Gildings director and 20th century specialist Will Gilding. “The price achieved for this medal is testament to the esteemed position William Morris and his contemporaries are held in the context of the history of the Western decorative arts. Putting a price on the historical impact and value of this sort of material is very difficult to justify prior to being placed on the open market. As the medal sold to a respected London dealer, it will be interesting to see where it finds a home next. While it will certainly be of interest to private collectors, it would be great to ultimately see it on public display.”