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Extra info for Edward Carter Preston 1885-1965: Sculptor, Painter, Medallist
13 Despite the numerous successful designs for the two world wars and the Korean campaign, his relationship with the Mint and their advisors was not without controversy and compromise in this field. The minutes of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee record the anxiety that a number of the members felt about using potentially offensive images – an early example of official political correctness. ’14 An alternative design for the Korea medal, 1953, – a medal commissioned specifically from Carter Preston, the design not being open to competition – showed a lion subduing a dragon, a type that symbolised unequivocally the triumph of Britain over an oriental foe; the final design – presumably echoing the criticisms of thirty five years earlier – employed the less offensive classicism of Herakles and the Hydra.
In 1916, the Government had set up a committee to oversee the production of a memorial plaque for the families of those killed in action in the First World War. The committee required the subject matter to be a ‘symbolical figure... 6 As a result of this prescription, in Carter Preston’s winning design, ‘the subject of sacrifice, death and loss, the essence of the memorial, is dealt with very indirectly,’7 and there was considerable subsequent criticism of the distancing effect brought about by the use of mythological (ie.
H. Paget was chosen. Ironically, Carter Preston’s depiction paid homage to a well-known piece by the Renaissance master, Pisanello, long regarded as one of the chefs d’oeuvre of fifteenth century medallic art for the bravura of its foreshortened view of the Samaritan’s horse – a connection of which the Mint’s own Committee would have been aware, but presumably not the Committee on the Grant of Honours and Medals. Classical types and allusions provide the bulk of the iconography of Carter Preston’s work for the Mint and other commissioning bodies and manufacturers.