Una & the Lion

From one great engraver to another

 

For centuries, The Royal Mint has worked with renowned artists to create designs that have gone on to become famous the world over. Our new Great Engravers bullion bar series reimagines designs and stories, captured by some of our most famous engravers, adding a contemporary twist for investors with a passion for modern design.

A stunning new version of Una and the lion created by Jody Clark begins the series. Jody is probably best known for his coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen that has been struck on all United Kingdom coins since 2015. The experienced artist has created many other deigns for The Royal Mint including the regal and renowned Queen’s Beasts Collection.

Una and the lion was first captured on coins by William Wyon RA, Chief Engraver at The Royal Mint from 1828 until his death. Wyon was inspired by the poem The Faërie Queene by Edmund Spenser, but fused his interpretation with reality, by depicting the young Queen Victoria as the focus of his design. His Una and the lion coin is considered as one of the most beautiful in coinage history, so it was a natural choice for the first subject in a new bullion series.

When Jody Clark approached his own interpretation, he returned to the original poem for inspiration:

‘The lyon would not leave her desolate,

But with her went along, as a strong gard…

Still, when she slept, he kept both watch and ward;

And, when she wakt, he wayted diligent,

With humble service to her will prepard…’

From The Faërie Queene by Edmund Spenser

The strong lion, a traditional British symbol, sits tamed at Una’s side – strong, watchful and protective. However, Jody also adopted Wyon’s touch of applying aspects of the monarchy to his design. With his characteristic contemporary style, the artist has shown Una holding the monarch’s orb and sceptre, but with softer details like the strands of hair blowing free from beneath her cape.

“It was great to not be restrained to a circle, so I was able to create a strong profile within the rectangular shape for this design. I interpreted the original poem rather than Wyon’s coin design. I kept a similar pose but was focusing on the beautiful Una being on a quest with the lion.” Jody Clark.

This approach contrasts to another of Jody’s creations for the bullion market, showing the diversity of his craft. On The Royal Mint’s Britannia minted bar, Jody has captured Britannia, the symbolic figure of Britain, in a traditional form. She stands firm, wearing a Corinthian helmet and holding a trident and union flag shield, while waves in the background remind us of her maritime links.

Jody’s Una and the lion design has been struck on a range of 999.9 fine gold and silver bars. Each bar is finished to The Royal Mint’s bullion standard, with the one ounce gold bar presented in unique, secure, Royal Mint branded blister packaging.

Una & the Lion

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