The Queen’s Beasts
Inspired by the mythical and medieval, The Queen’s Beasts Collection from The Royal Mint represents centuries of British royal heraldry. Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark created the current coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, the world’s longest reigning living monarch. He has now brought the beasts to life in a series of contemporary coin designs and the Lion of England leads the pack.
The Queen’s Beasts Collection brings centuries of royal heritage and tradition firmly into the twenty-first century. The origins of heraldry can be traced back to the middle of the twelfth century, when knights painted their shields and the coats they wore over their armour to recognise ‘friend or foe’ on the battlefield. These emblems have survived hundreds of years, being passed down through generations, and still appear on everyday items like British passports.
Some of the most famous heraldic symbols are The Queen’s Beasts. At the coronation of Her Majesty The Queen in 1953, ten statues symbolically guarded the entrance to Westminster Abbey. They were carved by sculptor James Woodford RA, each one standing six-feet high. More than 60 years later, Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark has created a series of ten contemporary designs capturing these proud creatures.
The Collection begins with the Lion of England, one of the earliest animals to appear in royal emblems. Jody’s lion is inspired by the original coronation statues, retaining a sense of sculpture, but with a dynamic feel to convey the power of the ‘King of the Beasts’.