‘As feminists we rejoice in your great achievement’: the sculptural work of Mary Gillick
Mary Gillick, née Tutin (1881-1965), is probably best remembered nowadays for the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that appeared on UK coins from the beginning of the reign until decimalisation in 1971. However, this talk will focus instead on her career as a sculptor and medallist – a career that had begun at Nottingham School of Art and the Royal College of Art under Edouard Lantéri and had already spanned more than fifty years when she experienced the sudden burst of national fame that came with the royal commission. Gillick’s work shows a readiness to adapt as she responded to changes in demand in the art market. Her experience also adds to the debate on the impact of marriages between artists (she was married to sculptor Ernest Gillick from 1905 until his death in 1951) and the choices open to women sculptors of her time.
Philip Attwood worked in the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum from 1979 to 2020 and was Keeper from 2010. His many books and articles include the exhibition catalogue Artistic circles: the medal in Britain 1880-1918 (1992), Italian medals, c.1530-1600, in British public collections (2003), and Hard at work: the diary of Leonard Wyon 1853-1867 (2014). He is editor of The Medal, the journal of the British Art Medal Society, and president of the Fédération Internationale de la Médaille d’Art (FIDEM). He is currently working on books on coin- and medal-designers Mary Gillick (1881-1965) and Frank Bowcher (1864-1938). Philip is Honorary Research Fellow at the British Museum.