Summers, Charles (1825-78; English)
Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition Medal 1866
Plaster, c.22 cm in diameter
Acquired by 1880
Location unknown (possibly Museum Victoria, transferred from NGV 1976)

[photo: detail of gilt plaster example held by Museum Victoria]

The NGV’s 1880 catalogue of “Statues & Busts in Marble and Casts,” under “Medallion Casts,” lists Summers’ medal without providing any further details (medium, size etc.).

According to Museum Victoria, over 650 medallions were awarded at the Intercolonial Exhibition (held at the Public Library site), and the example listed in NGV 1880 may have been simply a common-or-garden bronze example; several such are held by Museum Victoria. However, the Museum collection also includes the gilt plaster work reproduced here, presumed to be the original model or pattern, and Summers researcher Jennie Maggs suggests that this may have been the work in the pre-Felton NGV.  

Rather than following the tradition of medals produced in Britain (see e.g.* Wyon Melbourne Exhibition Medal 1854 {by 1880} Loc? [SC]), Summers and the local manufacturer (William Calvert) used an idiosyncratic “electroforming” technique involving the creation of a thin layer of copper mimicking a solid medallion (for details, refer Museum Victoria entry as cited below).

The design shows the personification of the state of Victoria, standing to the right, accepting the tribute of her 6 sisters (New Zealand and the other Australian states?!). The Latin inscription above reads FACIES NON OMNIBUS UNA NEC DIVERSA TAMEN QUALEM DECET ESSE SORORUM (“They all look different and yet alike: as sisters would”).


NGV 1880, p.32 (“Medallion Casts”) 

See (the example reproduced here: NU 18367photo: Rodney Start; the detailed entry by D.Tout-Smith, 2003, also includes further information as noted above); and other examples held by Museum Victoria, e.g. (entries accessed 6 Sept.2019)

My thanks to Jennie Maggs for further information regarding this work (August 2019)