As the Griffin of Edward III completes our line-up of coronation beasts, the occasion has been marked by the release of a special celebratory coin and The Royal Mint has enlisted the services of acclaimed coin designer Jody Clark. As the youngest designer to have created a definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, Jody finds himself in a rare position as a modern coin designer as his designs can be found on both sides of several new coins, including those in The Queen’s Beasts Collection.
For the series finale, Jody was set the formidable challenge of capturing all ten beasts side by side in a single design. The result is a remarkable feat of miniaturisation, testament to his deft touch and the skills he has honed working in this format. The visual impact is both impressive and immediate. Presented together on one coin, these magnificent royal guardians – lions, a griffin, a falcon, a bull, a yale, a greyhound, a dragon, a unicorn and a horse – exude the power and symbolism associated with the British monarch. We caught up with Jody to find out more about the inspiration behind his designs, how he approached his research, and the themes he wanted to convey.
What did you do to research?
“I researched the origins of heraldry and coats of arms and wanted to replicate the sense of strength and courage they were designed to convey. I created a sense of movement to make the beasts bold and dynamic.”
What inspired you and what challenges did you face?
“I took inspiration from the original Queen’s Beasts, both the versions in Canada and the stone replicas here in the United Kingdom. They are very stylised and look imposing as statues but the challenge was to capture this on the surface of a coin. When it came to areas like the eyes, I kept them blank. Adding too much detail softened the look and I think this way there is still a sense of sculpture reflecting the originals.”
Why did the theme of heraldry appeal to you?
“I’ve always been interested in fantastic beasts; you can ask my mum! I think most children love fairy tales and stories about lions, dragons and unicorns; they’ve got a timeless appeal.”
“They are very stylised and look imposing as statues but the challenge was to capture this on the surface of a coin …”