Iraq 1931: alternative portraits of King Faisal I

Started by <k>, December 25, 2021, 12:04:10 AM

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<k>

In 1931 Iraq decided that it wanted a new coinage. The Royal Mint (UK) commissioned two artists, Percy Metcalfe and Edward Carter-Preston, to provide a portrait of King Faisal I.

Metcalfe started by portraying the King crowned, but to the annoyance of the Deputy Master of the Royal Mint, Sir Robert Johnson, the King preferred Carter-Preston's bare-headed version. Metcalfe next portrayed the King in headdress (Metcalfe's own preferred choice), which the Royal Mint Advisory Committee much preferred to Preston's bare-headed portrait. However, the King thought that a headdress would be regarded as "ancien regime". The King also wanted to be portrayed full-face, but Sir Robert said that that never worked well and persuaded him to be done in profile.

The King also wanted to be portrayed in collar and tie, but Sir Robert said that would be inappropriate and unprecedented. Sir Robert then proposed that the King be portrayed in the uniform of Field Marshal, since the King didn't like the headdress portrait. Apparently Metcalfe much preferred the idea of portraying him in military uniform to a plain bare-headed portrait, but the King disliked that idea. So, they all wanted different details but compromised in the end. Apparently RMAC regarded Metcalfe's final portrait as an extremely successful  piece of work and Carter-Preston's as nothing like as good.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

PM Model - head dress (electro).jpg


Electrotype of King Faisal I in headdress. 

Portrait by Percy Metcalfe.

Image © Royal Mint Museum.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



Image copyright of St James's Auctions.

From Numisbids:

Kingdom of Iraq, King Faisal I (1921-1933), a Royal Mint trial in silver by Percy Metcalfe for the first coinage of Iraq, undated (c. 1931), obv. profile bust to r. depicting King Faisal in traditional Arabic dress, rev. blank with the word MODEL in centre, milled edge, wt. 11.28gms., diam. 29mm., matte surfaces, good extremely fine, exceedingly rare, possibly the only example in private hands. This trial was possibly intended (by size) as a silver 100 fils, a denomination not introduced during the reign of Faisal I. Two examples of this piece are known in the British Royal Mint Collection.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

PM Model - head dress (electro 2).jpg


Electrotype of King Faisal I in headdress. 

An alternative portrait by Percy Metcalfe.

Image © Royal Mint Museum.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

RMM29257_obv.jpg


King Faisal I in headdress. 

Alternative portrait by Percy Metcalfe.

Image © Royal Mint Museum.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Carter-Preston.jpg


Plaster and electrotype King Faisal I bare-headed. 

Portrait by Edward Carter-Preston.

Images © Royal Mint Museum.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

RMM29258_obv.jpg


King Faisal I bare-headed. 

Portrait by Percy Metcalfe.

Image © Royal Mint Museum.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Iraq 2 fils 1931.jpg


Iraq, 2 fils, 1931. 

An issued coin featuring Percy Metcalfe's finished portrait of King Faisal I.

See also: Iraq: Three Kings on Coins.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.