Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pingo, Thomas

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PINGO, THOMAS (1692–1776), medallist, was born in Italy in 1692, and came to England about 1742–5. He was a skilful and industrious worker, and made a large number of English medals, chiefly between 1745 and 1770. His usual signature is t. pingo. In 1763 he was a member of the Free Society of Artists. He engraved a plate of arms for Thoresby's ‘Leeds’ (Walpole, Anecdotes, iii. 984), and in 1769 modelled for Wedgwood representations of the battles of Plessy and Pondicherry. He also worked for Thomas Hollis. He was assistant-engraver at the English mint from 1771 till his death, which took place in December 1776 (Gent. Mag. 1776, p. 579).

The following is a selection from Pingo's medals: 1. The ‘Captain Callis’ medal, 1742 (engraved in (Hawkins, Medallic Illustr. ii. 569). 2. Medal of ‘One of the Loyal Associations,’ 1745? (ib. ii. 603). 3. ‘Repulse of the Rebels,’ 1745 (ib ii. 607). 4. ‘Defeat of the French Fleet off Cape Finisterre,’ with bust of Anson, 1747 (ib ii. 634). 5. Medal relating to Dr. Charles Lucas, 1749 (engraved, ib ii. 654). 6. The ‘Oak Medal’ of Prince Charles, 1750 (ib ii. 655). The engraving of the dies cost 88l. 16s. 7. Prize Medal of St. Paul's School, obv. bust of Colet, rev. Minerva seated, 1755. 8. ‘Victory of Plassy,’ 1758. 9. ‘Society for Promoting Arts and Commerce,’ 1758. The dies cost eighty guineas (H. B. Wheatley, Medals of the Soc. of Arts, p. 3). 10. ‘Capture of Louisburg’ medals, 1758 ((Hawkins, op. cit. ii. 685–6). 11. ‘Capture of Goree,’ 1758. This medal gained the prize of the Society of Arts for the best specimen commemorating the event. 12. ‘Capture of Guadeloupe,’ 1759 (designed by Stuart). 13. ‘Majority of the Prince of Wales,’ 1759. 14. ‘Battle of Minden,’ 1759 (engraved, (Hawkins, op. cit. ii. 700). 15. ‘Taking of Quebec,’ 1759. 16. ‘Taking of Montreal,’ 1760. 17. ‘Subjugation of Canada,’ 1760. 18. Coronation medal of Stanislaus Augustus of Poland, 1764 (made in London, Hutten-Czapski, Catal. ii. 74). 19. ‘Repeal of the Stamp Act,’ with bust of Chatham, 1766. 20. Lord-chancellor Camden, 1766. 21. Royal Academy medals, reverse, Minerva and Student; and reverse, Torso, 1770. Several of the above-named medals were made by Pingo for the Society of Arts, under the auspices of Thomas Hollis and from designs by Cipriani.

There is a mezzotint portrait (1741) of Pingo in 1738, i.e. at the age of forty-six, by Carwitham, after Holland (Bromley, Cat. of Portraits, p. 471).

Pingo married Mary (d. 17 April 1790), daughter of Benjamin Goldwire of Romsey, Hampshire, and had by her several children, of whom Lewis [q. v.], John, and Benjamin attained distinction.

John Pingo (fl. 1770) was appointed assistant-engraver to the mint in 1786 or 1787, and in 1768 and 1770 exhibited medals and wax models with the Free Society of Artists.

Benjamin Pingo (1749–1794), the fifth son, baptised 8 July 1749 in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, was appointed rouge-dragon pursuivant in 1780, and York herald in 1786. He was killed in a crush at the Haymarket Theatre on 3 Feb. 1794 (Ann. Reg. 1794, p. 5). He bequeathed his manuscripts to the College of Arms, and his books were sold by Leigh & Sotheby in 1794 (Nichols, Lit. Illustr. vi. 356, 357; Noble, College of Arms, p. 426).

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Hawkins's Medallic Illustrations, ed. Franks and Grueber; Ruding's Annals of the Coinage, i. 45; Meteyard's Life of Wedgwood, i. 442, ii. 92.]

W. W.