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Benedetto Pistrucci

Italian, 1783 - 1855

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Biography

Benedetto Pistrucci was born in Rome on May 29, 1784, and began his career as a sculptor of cameo and intaglio gem-engravings in the Roman studio of Nicola Morelli (1771-1838). By the turn of the century, at age sixteen, he had become independent, supplying engraved gems, often resold as ancient, to the dealers Ignazio Vescovali and Angiolo Bonelli. By 1814 he had achieved patronage in the Napoleonic courts of Tuscany and Naples, and even Paris, but the downfall of the Emperor caused him to move in 1815 to London. By 1816 he was employed at the Royal Mint, where he remained for more than 30 years. From 1817 to 1825 he was effectively the principal designer of the British coinage, in which capacity he developed sovereigns and crowns with a celebrated reverse of St. George and the Dragon (after Giovanni Pichler, after Moderno). From 1828 to 1848 Pistrucci had the title of Chief Medallist at the Mint, producing chiefly commemorative medals, as well as the Royal Seal in 1838. He died at Windsor on September 16, 1855. (Douglas Lewis' acquisiton proposal for 1996.122.6.a,b)

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