Meet Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark, who created both the reverse designs for this new collection and the fifth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen.
The Queen’s Beasts – lion, griffin, falcon, bull, yale, greyhound, dragon, unicorn and horse – have gone on to inspire a new artist. Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark, creator of the most recent definitive coinage portrait of The Queen’s reign, gave The Queen’s Beasts Collection a fierce and fantastical start with the Lion of England. This first coin in the collection was released in 2016, the year The Queen became the world’s longest reigning living monarch. His designs are inspired by both heraldry and the true nature of the beast in the wild or in legend.
"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 but the shields they guard still feature strongly as they are integral to the story."
"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."
“They are very stylised and look imposing as statues but the challenge was to capture this on the surface of a coin...”–Jody Clark
Jody Clark is the youngest designer to have created a definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen. Jody is in a rare position as a modern coin designer, as his designs can be found on both sides of several new coins, like those in The Queen’s Beasts Collection. We asked Jody about the collection and how he approached the design for the Black Bull of Clarence.
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.”