During the 1840s the Society of Arts held popular annual exhibitions that showcased British ingenuity. Henry Cole, a Society member, came up with the idea of a ‘Great Exhibition’ which would celebrate such brilliance from across the globe.
Prince Albert became President of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, calming concerns from Parliament with his belief that the event would place British creativity and engineering on the world stage.
The Great Exhibition proved to be a spectacular success and, in tribute to his achievements and as “a token of remembrance of our long communion in this work”, Prince Albert presented Henry Cole with the special medal he had personally commissioned from William Wyon.
Wyon’s interpretation of St George & The Dragon, an iconic image that has become synonymous with his early rival, Benedetto Pistrucci, is full of energy as St George slays the mighty dragon beneath his rearing steed, believed to have been modelled upon Prince Albert’s favourite horse, ‘Imaun’.