Object Record

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Catalog Number 01.C.21
Object Name Medallion
Title Medallion with Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton
Description Small, classically-inspired, bust-length profile portrait relief within an oval medallion with molded edges. The medallion is made of gilded plaster. The underside of the medallion is smooth, and is inscribed "Newton" in horizontally-oriented, free-hand script. The top center of the medallion has been fitted with a small brass loop. This object bears no identifying marks with regard to its maker or date. A large, horizontal crack is visible running through the upper and lower surfaces of the medallion (this crack has been repaired). Various chips in the upper surface edges of the medallion / losses of gilding are visible as well. The underside of the medallion bears a small red-and-white tag that reads "U.82 / 20".
Label English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) is often considered the culminating figure of the 17th-century scientific revolution. His 1687 "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica" (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, or, more simply, the Principia) was one of the most influential publications in the history of modern science. This small, gilded, plaster portrait medallion depicts Newton. The bust-length portrait profile faces to the viewer’s right. The sitter wears a combination shirt (with open collar), five-button vest, and classical drape. Newton’s hair is naturalistically rendered, and the portrait reveals a classically-inspired ear, prominent brow, nose, and chin. To the left of the portrait bust (behind Newton) is a falling star in relief. While no maker is known, the style and composition of this relief suggest it is a copy of a Wedgwood portrait medallion of Newton (c. 1780).
Material Plaster
Dimensions H-4.5 W-3.625 D-0.5 inches
Credit line American Philosophical Society
Search Terms science