Exhibition medals

24 April, 2011

Medal - Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition, Australia, 1887.
Medal - Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition, Australia, 1887.
Source: Museum Victoria

Question: I have an Adelaide Jubilee International exhibition medallion on the reverse side it says “for services” on the shield. My late father told me that Mr E.J. Woods, architect of St Peter’s Cathedral and the Adelaide Houses of Parliament, received this medallion. How can I verify that? I also have two Art Union of London medallions, 1861 and 1876 – again, I am not sure why Mr Woods would have received these. Can you help me?

Answer: Medals for service were awarded to commissioners, members of committees (usually also commissioners), exhibition staff and members of juries.

The State Library of South Australia has copies of the Official Record of the Adelaide Jubilee Exhibition 1887. E.J. Woods’ role in the exhibition should be recorded in this record.

In terms of the Art Union of London medallions, according to the Historical and Commemorative Medals website: ‘The Art Union of London was founded in 1837 to foster and encourage interest in the fine arts.  Members paid an annual subscription...for which they received an engraving. Between 1842-1887, they sponsored a group of 30 medals, each with a portrait of an eminent artist, together with an illustration of their work. Bronze medals were given to members of the Art Union who would otherwise have chosen an engraving.

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