Object Record

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Catalog Number 1972.2497
Object Name Medallion
Title Medallion with Portrait of William Penn
School Wedgwood
Description After 1769-1780 bas-relief by Sylvanus Bevan. One of two identical Wedgwood medallions of Penn. White on black jasper dip medallion. Appears identical to 58.S.62 .
Label This medallion depicts William Penn, notable Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania. Facing religious persecution in England, Penn received a charter to establish an American colony in 1681. Financial burdens and disagreements limited his efforts to found a society based on ideals of religious freedom, notably the boundary dispute with Maryland's proprietor Lord Baltimore (Charles Calvert), which resulted in the establishment of the Mason-Dixon Line. The Wedgwood firm modeled this medallion after a 1769–80 bas-relief by Sylvanus Bevan, a younger Quaker apothecary and acquaintance of Penn. After Penn's death, Bevan created the image from memory for Lord Cobham. According to Benjamin Franklin, Cobham exclaimed, "It is William Penn himself!" when he first saw the portrait. Bevan's image of Penn became the model for all subsequent depictions, including Benjamin West's 1772 painting of Penn’s legendary 1683 treaty with Lenape chief Tamanend and other Native American leaders.
Medium Ceramic
Dimensions H-4 W-3.25 inches
Dimension Details Oval
Framed: 7.75 x 6.75 x 1.5
Credit line American Philosophical Society. Gift of the estate of Isaac Minis Hays, 1967.
Search Terms 17th century
seventeenth century
18th century
eighteenth century