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  CAST STEEL MEDALLION WITH AN UNUSUAL THREE-QUARTER PROFILE IMAGE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, PROBABLY 1876-1878, SIGNED BY HATFIELD, SHEFFIELD, U.K.
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CAST STEEL MEDALLION WITH AN UNUSUAL THREE-QUARTER PROFILE IMAGE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, PROBABLY 1876-1878, SIGNED BY HATFIELD, SHEFFIELD, U.K.:

This medallion image of George Washington is both beautiful and unusual, due to its three-quarter profile image of our nation's first president. With his flowing hair, ruffled blouse, and military garb, it survives as the single best casting of its kind that I have ever encountered.

The medallion, which measures about 22 inches in diameter, is large in scale compared to other various patriotic examples I have seen. It is also unusually elegant from an artistic perspective, with the added bonus of the whimsical overlapping "V's" to form the "W" in "Washington" and the matching V-shaped cross bar in the letter "A".

Along the bottom, the plaque is signed "Hadfield's Cast Steel". This was the shop of Robert Hadfield (1831-1888), owner of Hadfield's Steel Foundry in Attercliffe, Sheffield, in the U.K. From an early period, Sheffield became distinguished for its manufacture of iron and steel. As far back as the thirteenth century, for example, it is mentioned as a place where the best arrowheads were made. Cast steel was actually invented in Attercliffe in the mid-18th century by a man named Benjamin Huntsman (b. 1704).* As a leader in the manufacture of steel, from one of the steel manufacturing capitols of the world, it is reasonable to assume that Hadfield may have made this medallion to impress potential American customers at one of the world's fairs, such as the 1876 Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia or the 1878 Paris Exhibition. The latter of these two events Hadfield definitely attended**, though since the medallion turned up in Pennsylvania, one might suggest that the Centennial Expo is the more likely source. Whatever the case may be, it is an extraordinary example.

Condition: Excellent.

* "Wyman's Commercial Encyclopedia of Leading Manufacturers of Great Britain" (Wyman & Sons, London, 1888).

** Tweedale, Geoffrey, "Sheffield Steel and America" (Cambridge University Press, 1987)
   
Primary Color: brown
Earliest Date: 1876
Latest Date: 1878
For Sale Status: Sold
Price SOLD
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