"Circle of Friends of the Medallion"

In my post yesterday, I forgot to include another thing I found that was interesting. The exhibit had a display about the Circle of Friends of the Medallion. This was how the organization was described by its founders:

a band of artists and lovers of the arts, of both sexes, who hope to encourage in the public a taste for small sculptures and especially for bas-relief. Designs are chosen by the Art Committee. Medals and other sculptures issued by the Circle go to members only, without charge beyond the annual dues. They are not offered publicly for sale. They are of bronze, unless a costlier metal is called for at an additional cost.

As you can see from the picture, the medals were set inside a hardbound book with an essay on the piece. The Society was established in 1909 and the final edition was issued in 1915. It fascinated me that in that era it was actually feasible to not only produce a bronze medallion but fabricate a small edition of books with a die-cut recess just to hold it an the accompanying literature. The cost of doing something like that today would be prohibitive. (My husband would say that this would be precisely to appeal to me – a lovely thing so time-intensive to make that no one could ever make it a viable business!)

Still, the basic idea behind the Society was interesting to me. It would be possible in our community to issue a yearly medallion and package it in an appealing way. Of course I’d be more interested in ceramic medallions than bronze, but that’s my own bias showing! I just wonder if there would be enough interest that such a ‘society’ would have members?

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3 Responses to "Circle of Friends of the Medallion"

  1. Heather July 11, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    Thank you Lesli! I have found this facscinating about the mediallions, the Society and now the book! It might be that one of the Society members was a bookbinder! I repair books at a University…we just received equipment and supplies from an AZ bookbinder who passed…but his supplies are just awesome…endpapers from France, lots of leather (which he would dye)threads from England and his old tools are hand-worn and fit so comfortably into my hand! We are having so much fun ‘playing’ in the Lab! To me, you have hit on the best…ceramic horse mediallions and books! Oh, life is good, isn’t it?
    ~Heather W.
    Yucaipa, Cali

  2. Lynn A. Fraley July 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm #

    This is just terrificly inspiring Lesi, thanks for sharing! I love the first line of the “Circle of Friends of the Medallion” mission statement. It’s no so different from RESS’s intent. What an interesting idea and beautiful presentation too!
    ~ Lynn

  3. mel July 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    It would be a natural outgrowth of something that already exists: those of us who collect medallions often trade ones we have duplicates of for ones that are duplicates in another collector’s possession. And now that medallion classes are turning up at shows, folks are enjoying seeing each other’s collections. I would absolutely be a member of a medallion “club.”

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