February 29th 2019.
Next club meeting Monday 4th March 2019.
· Subject - Club Auction - for members only
Monday 1st April 2019
· Edward Stanley Robinson - Knighted for Services to Numismatics By Peter Preston-Morley
Monday 6th May 2019.
· TBA By TBA
Meetings are held at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square, commencing at 7.00 p.m.
· We will be meeting in the main church area on the ground floor of the church for this meeting as the church has need of the basement area. Unfortunately we are not able to provide teas or coffees. The basement area is to be considered ‘out of bounds’. Please bear in mind that this is the main area for religious activities and treat it accordingly.
· The March meeting will be the club auction. Nobody will be allowed to look any lots until all the lots have been put out. Please keep well away from the lots until an official notice is made, saying that viewing can begin. As usual, there will be no dealing at this meeting.
For the February meeting we welcomed Mr Philip Attwood, Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum, who gave a talk entitled ‘Frank Bowcher, the man behind the medals’.
The question posed throughout the talk was, that given his large body of work, why is Bowcher so little recognised today.
He was born in Islington in 1864 and by 1886 he was a student at the National Art Training School (Royal college of Art) in Kensington, under the tutorage of Edouard Lanteri. In 1895 he married fellow student Constance L’Estrange and lived in the artistic suburb of Bedford Park, a surprising choice of area given his conservative traits
Before covering Bowcher’s medallions Philip gave a brief overview of his sculptural work. We were shown examples of the metallic ‘arts and crafts’ style frieze on the Holy Trinity Sloane Square font, the Brasenose College cup and several memorials. Bowcher himself only worked in metal and it was another hand that completed the marble work to Bowcher’s design.
He also did some restoration work on ancient sculptures. Philip illustrated the restored head of Diadoumenos, currently in the Ashmolean, where the restoration is surprisingly done in wax.
Coming on to the medals Philip progressed on to discussing the various influences on Bowcher’s work. We were shown showed examples of Renaissances cast medals, French style medals and Bowcher’s equivalents, while others clearly reflected the influence of the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement. Other aspects of his work involved experimentation with different types of surfaces and ways of modelling. A much earlier influence was that of the Greeks. Many Bowcher ‘wax and plasters’ were purchased from our founding member Michael Broome’s widow by the BM, and also a copy of Macdonald’s Greek coins. What’s in the book is most enlightening, for while one page has pictures of Greek coins the adjacent page has Bowcher’s diary comments. From this source Philip showed several of Bowcher’s medals having much similarity to the Greek pictures.
What came across in Philip’s talk was that Bowcher was very much an experimenter and did not just stick to a tried and tested formula. His large output of medals not only covers a wide variety of subjects but also includes many variations in style and format. With so much respected work it is thus rather perplexing that when Bowcher died in 1938 he slipped into obscurity, apart from numismatists occasionally coming across his name through the medallic commission’s completed for Spinks.
We thank Philip for an excellent and well illustrated talk on a little known subject, and the wide variety of medals shown to us.
· 30 years ago Graham Hornby gave a talk on Military Medals.
· 40 years ago Mr. Morley FRNS gave a talk on 17th Century tokens