Wyon, Thomas (1792-1817) (DNB00)

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WYON, THOMAS, the younger (1792–1817), chief engraver at the royal mint, born at Birmingham in 1792, was the eldest son of Thomas Wyon the elder [q. v.] At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to his father, and was instructed by him in engraving upon steel. About this time he joined the sculpture school of the Royal Academy and gained two silver prize medals. In 1809 he struck his first medal, a medal presented to Lieutenant Pearce, R.N. In 1810 he gained the gold medal of the Society of Arts for medal engraving; the die, representing a head of Isis, was purchased by the society and used for striking its prize medals. From this period he produced many medals for schools, societies, Pitt clubs, and other institutions.

On 20 Nov. 1811 Wyon was appointed probationer engraver at the royal mint, and was employed in making the bank tokens for England and Ireland, and coins for the British colonies and for Hanover. On 13 Oct. 1815 he was appointed chief engraver to the mint, being then only twenty-three. The next year he brought out the new silver coinage for the United Kingdom (half-crown, shilling, and sixpence), designing the reverses himself. In 1817 he struck the maundy money, and began to make his pattern crown-piece in rivalry of Thomas Simon [q. v.] Signs of consumption now began to appear, and Wyon—a modest and talented artist—died on 23 (or 22) Sept. 1817 at the Priory Farmhouse, near Hastings. He was buried in the graveyard attached to Christ Church, Southwark.

Among Wyon's medals may be mentioned: 1809, Pearce medal; 1810, Isis medal (re-engraved in 1813); medal of Wellington; 1812, Wooldridge medal; medal for Royal Naval College, Portsmouth; 1813, Manchester Pitt Club medal; ‘Upper Canada preserved;’ 1814, medals presented to the North American Indians; medal of the tsar of Russia struck during the visit of the Grand Duchess of Oldenburg to the English mint; treaty of Paris (published by Rundell & Co. from his ‘Peace checking the Fury of War,’ a design which had gained the gold medal of the Society of Arts); centenary of accession of house of Brunswick (for the corporation of Cork), and Liverpool Pitt club medal; 1815, Waterloo medal, with reverse, Victory, adapted from a Greek coin of Elis (Mayo, Medals, plate 22); and 1817, opening of Waterloo Bridge. Wyon also engraved (1813) seals for the Newcastle Antiquarian Society, the Chester Canal Company, and (c. 1815) the Limerick chamber of commerce.

[Memoir by Mr. Allan Wyon in Colvile's Worthies of Warwickshire; Gent. Mag. 1818, i. 179; Sainthill's Olla Podrida, i. 22 f., ii. 354.]

W. W.