Medal: Great Britain (Italy) circa 1719
Princess Clementina Escape from Innsbruck
Medal: Great Britain (Italy) 1719
Princess Clementina - Escape from Innsbrück - by Ottone Hamerani
obv: Bust of Princess Maria Clementina facing left; legend surrounds: CLEMENTINA • M • BRITAN • FR • ET • HIB • REGINA •
rev: Clementina with reigns in one hand driving ornately decorated chariot pulled by two horses in the foreground set against a backround of Italian landscape with city at left, ship at center, rising sun at right; legend above: FORTVNAM CAVSAMQVE SEQVOR; below exergue: DECEPTIS • CVSTODIBVS • / • MDCCXIX •
James Stuart, son of the recently deposed King James VII, led a long struggle to reclaim the thrones of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Princess Maria Clementina was the grand daugher of John Sobieski, King of Poland. She had many connections and a sizeable dowry. As such, James considered her the perfect choice for a wife. Of course, King George I of England opposed the marriage fearing the power and influence it might bring his enemy.
Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI had Clementina arrested on her way to Rome and confined her in Innsbruck Castle.
Clementina deceived the guards and escaped to Bologna, Italy where she was married by proxy to James. Pope Clement XI acknowledged James and Clementina as King and Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland and briefly hosted them in Rome where he ordered this medal struck to commemorate the events.
Although designed and struck in Italy, the persons and events are most closely related to the history of England, Scotland, and Ireland. For that reason this medal is catalogued using books on medals of Great Britain.
The exquisitely detailed engraving of beautiful designs both obverse and reverse bring Maria Clementina and her plight to life some 300 years after the events. This exceptionally choice example has lustrous chocolate brown surfaces with minor marks from light handling. That it has survived 300 years in this condition is a wonder. A joy to behold.
AE 48mm 41.6g edge: plain Eimer 484
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