Britannia has represented Britain for almost 2,000 years. Since she first appeared on Roman coins she has become synonymous with the coinage, designs remaining true to her character but evolving over centuries – she is the changing face of Britain. From her introduction, symbolism has been at work. Usually draped in classical robes, Britannia has never been dressed in the full armour of a warrior on the coinage, yet the carefully chosen elements that accompany her – such as Corinthian helmet, trident or even owl – have portrayed her strength and wisdom.
Jody Clark’s design for 2014 continues this numismatic tradition with his artfully balanced composition placing Britannia amongst the familiar symbols that accompany her, with a three-dimensional globe as her backdrop. Britannia is joined by the lion, famous in British heraldry and long celebrated on coins as a sign of patriotic pride. Intricate details are highlighted on the six gold coins in this impressive set, such as Britannia’s hair and the mane of the lion at her feet, giving the composition a sense of movement. This Limited Edition Presentation of just 250 sets must satisfy all those collectors who admire Britannia.
The lion has been familiar on coinage for centuries, whether in heraldic form or on famous numismatic treasures. The Una and the Lion £5 piece was created more than a century ago by William Wyon RA, who also depicted Britannia for the coinage. In his exquisite example of numismatic art, Una is depicted as a young Queen Victoria leading an obedient lion.
Britannia also appeared, head bowed and lion of Britain at her side, on the plaques that commemorated those who lost their lives during the First World War – a particularly poignant reminder as we approach the centenary of its outbreak. The design for 2014 is a classic yet contemporary Britannia, a self-assured figure with the lion tamed at her feet, a modern sense of strength bolstered by the combined presence of two enduring figures.