Sir Andrew Fountaine

Minerva and Antiquarian Objects

Lead, 87.5 mm Ø, 266.5 g
By Antonio Selvi, 1715.
Obverse:  Bust of Andrew Fountaine faceing right, wearing long curly wig, cravat, and loose mantle. Around, ANDREAS · FOVNTAINE · EQVES · AVRATVS · ANGLVS · (Andrew Fountaine, Golden Knight, Englishman). Under arm truncation, 1715 · .
Reverse:  Minerva standing, holding long rod, pointing to coins or medals on an altar, in front of which are books on the ground. To the left, a laureate bust on a pedestal, a statuette, and a column fragment. To the right, a shield with the Fountaine arms and a column capital. In exergue, A · SELVI · F .

Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676-1753) was an English antiquarian and art collector. He studied at Oxford, received a knighthood from William III in 1699, and was named Warden of the Mint in 1727. He toured continental Europe twice, in 1701-03 and 1714-16, visiting Italy during both trips and befriending Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Around 1732 Fountaine took up the redesign of the family seat at Narford Hall in Norfolk. During his life, he amassed a large collection of art, including coins and medals.

The reverse design of this medal refers to Fountaine's keen interest in numismatics and antiquarianism. The title Eques Auratus in the obverse inscription refers to his honor as a knight bachelor, who has the privilege of being allowed gilded armor.

In a Sotheby's sale from 1993 of the property of Commander Andrew Fountaine, RNR, Retd, from Narford Hall, it was noted: "The following group of objects comes from the Fountaine collection at Narford Hall in Norfolk. The majority were bought, inherited or commissioned by Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676-1753), one of the 'keenest virtuosi of his age'." In the lot description for this medal, it is further noted: "In his unpublished manuscript book relating to the family of Fountaine of Narford, 1858-after 1868, Andrew Fountaine V relates 'Sir A.F. succeeded Sir Isaac Newton as Warden of the Mint there is a Medal of him by Dassier struck during this period, likewise a very large medal of him in full bottom wig struck at Rome, these are very rare. I have never seen any except the two at Narford and these are struck in lead. They have no specimen at the British Museum. I have since given them one which I purchased for 1'."

Provenance:

Sotheby's, 11 November 1993, lot 138 (Commander Andrew Fountaine property).

References:

Hawkins 1885, vol. II, p. 433, no. 30

Vannel and Toderi 1987, no. 145

Eimer 2010, no. 474