This year a brand new £5 coin has been issued to commemorate Sir Winston Churchill, and it features a never-seen-before effigy of the great man.
Designed by renowned sculptor and artist David Cornell FRSA, the new portrait shows a defiant Churchill in military uniform. I’ve been given a behind the scenes look at the creation of the portrait, and had a quick chat with the artist himself.
David Cornell is perhaps more famous for sculpting members of the Royal family, (he was even commissioned to paint a birthday portrait of the Queen) so I thought I’d ask him about his inspiration behind the new design:
“Winston Churchill was a major part of my childhood growing up in London during the War, hearing his speeches and seeing photos on posters, which left an indelible impression on me.
“I realised later what a great man he was and his contribution to the War effort, inspiring the people of Great Britain.
“As a portrait artist, it has been a great honour for me to be able to portray him in this tribute to honour his legacy.”
First of all Cornell worked on a plaster engraving of the portrait, making sure it fits the very particular dimensions of a coin. You can see the fine detail in the picture above, and also the large size of the plaster, which has to be reduced when the die is created to strike the coin.
The finished £5 coin also features an inscription of one of Churchill’s famous speeches: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’ Although spoken in reference to the heroes of the Battle of Britain, the quotation was chosen as it represents Churchill’s indomitable spirit during the war.
The coin has been issued on behalf of the Bailiwick of Jersey, and is available now in a range of metals – from an impressive 5oz 22 carat gold version measuring 2 1/2 inches in diameter, to a highly collectable cupro-nickel version available to all. I’m sure you’ll agree, it will make a fitting tribute in any collection to our greatest ever Prime Minister.
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