Wyon, William; artist
Wyon, Benjamin; artist; British engraver and medallist, 1802-1858
Victoria (1837-1901); ruler; Queen of Great Britain 1837-1901
Victoria regina; ruler; with the title of
Lester Watson Collection
Crimean War Medal; denomination
British Army; subsubsubseries
Rivalry between Britain and Russia over India, and between Russia and France over the protection of Christians under Ottoman rule, led in the 1850s to a focus of diplomatic attention on the ailing Ottoman Empire. British diplomatic successes led to a Russian attempt to annexe the Danubian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia from the Ottomans, and the Russian destruction of the Ottoman Black Sea fleet when Turkey went to war in retaliation. Britain and France moved in support of the Ottomans and although the Danubian provinces were returned the allies' conditions for peace far exceeded this. The Russian refusal to meet these conditions led to full-scale international war in late 1854.
The war was mainly composed of allied attempts to reduce Russian fortresses on the Black Sea (and also on the Baltic), of which only the lengthy siege of Sevastopol was successful, but Russia was unable to force withdrawal on the allies and so Tsar Nicholas I made peace in 1856.
An early allied success was the defeat at Alma in 1854 of a larger Russian army that had been sent to oppose the initial allied landings. This medal bears the bar for participation in that battle, and for action during the long siege of Sevastopol.
It is unnamed, as were most medals in haste to get them to the still-fighting army, and the recipient's identity is unknown. Lester Watson purchased the medal from the dealer Gifford at some point before 1928.
London, mint, place
weight, 42.28, g
diameter, 35.7, mm
loan; 2005; Cambridge in America
Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, acquired before 1928
design; obverse; VICTORIA REGINA; Bust of Victoria facing left
design; reverse; Roman warrior being wreathed by flying Victory
Watson Catalogue; 70
previous object number; LW.0066
Hayward, John (author, C20th). Birch, Diana. Bishop, Richard. 2006. British Battles and Medals 7th edn.London: Spinkp. 266-272, 273, 274
British and other Campaign and Gallantry Medals From the Collection of Lester Watson (d. 1959).
Crimea 1854 (Sebastopol, Alma): unnamed
Object Number: CM.1183-2009
(Coins and Medals)
(record id: 141277; input: 2007-03-27; modified: 2009-11-23)