This black basalt medallion shows an image of Anne Stuart (1665-1714). In 1702, when Anne’s only son William died, aged 11, she became Queen of England. She reigned from 1702 to 1714.
Anne famously developed a close intimate friendship with her ‘first lady of the bedchamber’, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (born 1660, died 1744). Their relationship lasted for many years. Though ‘Romantic friendships’ between young women were often encouraged during this period as a form of preparation for heterosexual marriage, the intensity of their relationship casued a scandal in the Royal household. Anne stood firm by Sarah, whilst a Princess, even when their relationship was labelled an ‘immoderate passion’ and subjected to intense scrutiny by the Royal family. However, when it threatened to undermine her power as Queen, Anne transferred her affection to Sarah's less politically motivated relative, Abigail Hill Masham. In 1711 Sarah and her husband were dismissed from the court.
Josiah Wedgwood (born in 1730, died in 1795) first began producing portrait medallions, in the late 18th century, in response to a new demand for portraiture amongst the prosperous middle-classes. He first proposed medallions of George III, Queen Charlotte and other royal figures, knowing they would have wide popular appeal. By 1788 he had catlogued 857 portrait medals and medallions. The majority of Wedgwood's portrait medallions were not original, but were copied from existing mdeals, glass paste and horn medallions or wax portraits. The rest were modelled from engravings, drawings, paintings and sculptures by artists emloyed or commission by Wedgwood.