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Wesleyana

The term is used to describe a variety of items depicting images of John and Charles Wesley, including ceramics, portraits, engravings, medals, etc., and also Wesley relics.

Medals: have been made since 1789 in silver, copper/bronze or white metal, depicting John and/or Charles Wesley. The first known example is by William Mainwaring of Birmingham in 1789, possibly to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first WM society: on the obverse, a head and shoulder image of John Wesley; on the reverse, one of three biblical texts. Medals made by Mainwaring and by Gregory Hancock of Birmingham followed this in 1791. In 1836-1838 John Ottley made 'Conference' medals. To celebrate the centenary of Methodism in 1839, Charles Frederick Carter of Birmingham made a medal depicting John Wesley and the Centenary Hall, London and one showing Charles Wesley and a verse of one of his hymns; also medals with John Wesley on the obverve and Charles Wesley on the reverse. William Joseph Taylor and P. Champ of London produced a medal of John Wesley with a biblical text on the reverse. Joseph Carter of Birmingham made medals in 1891 for the centenary of John Wesley's death. Over the years other medals have celebrated anniversaries and centenaries of churches and institutions.

Metal artefacts: Bronze busts (9" and 10.75" high) after the manner of the Enoch Wood bust, c.1840; cast iron busts, 5.75" on a cast iron square base 3" high, c.1840; bronze figures on round or octagonal bases 5 3/8" high; brass and cast iron silhouettes of John Wesley by his mother's grave 7 3/8" high.

A cast brass doorknocker with the figure of John Wesley as the knocker, by May & Padmore of Birmingham. Three brass finished thin steel round medallions 2 3/16" in diameter, of John and Charles Wesley and John *Fletcher, c.1815, in round brass or square papier-mâché frames, made by M[archant?] and P[ingo?]. Gilded or black iron profiles in papier-mâché or gilded iron frames. Apostle-type Wesley silver spoons. There are also modern bronzed images of John Wesley on horseback.

Miscellaneous: Walking sticks and letter seals; 19th century wax pictures; cigarette/tobacco/trade cards from 1913 on; silk bookmarks by T. Stevens of Coventry; silk pictures by J. Webb of London, c.1860; ivory profiles in papier-mâché frames, c. 1840; a 'Life of Wesley' jigsaw; a rare cut-glass scent bottle with a Wesley sulphide; Bilston enamel Wesley pictures and papier-mâché table snuff boxes, both 19th century.

Wesley relics include letters, autographs, clothing, rings and broaches containing plaited strands of his hair; his personal 'fob' letter seal, and objects made from the wood of trees under which he preached or from the Epworth Rectory garden.

Sources

  • Methodist Recorder, November-December 2002
  • The Countryman Magazine, 1950, p.393
  • G.A. Godden, Stevengraphs and other Victorian Pictures (London, 1971)
  • L. Hannas, The English Jigsaw Puzzle 1760-1890 (1972)

Entry written by: DHR
Category: Subject

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