Yeo - Chief Engraver to the Royal Mint
This wonderful self portrait of Richard was sent to me by
Scott Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. The original portrait is hanging in his study and he kindly photographed it for me.
first came into public notice in 1746, when he produced the official
medal for the battle of Culloden, a badge with an effective ornamental
border. In the same year he issued by subscription another Culloden
medal, with a rather pretentious reverse, the Duke of Cumberland
as Hercules trampling upon Discord. This was sold in in silver for
one guinea, and in gold for 'two guineas for the fashion '. Before
producing these Medals Richard had engraved a seal with the head
of the Duke of Cumberland,
taken from life.
1749 he was appointed assistant engraver to the Royal Mint, and
in 1775 he succeeded John Sigismund Tanner as chief engraver to
the Royal Mint. He was a member of the incorporated Society of Artists
in 1760, and was one of the foundation members of the Royal Academy,
to whose first two exhibitions he was a contributor, sending in
1770 a proof impression of his fiveguinea piece. In the 1760s and
1770s he made the dies for a number of coins of George III. His
relatively small number of known medals includes the exquisite Cambridge
University Chancellor's medal of 1752 . He died whilst still in
office as chief engraver on the 3rd December, 1779. His small collection
of coins and medals was sold by auction at Langford's, Covent Garden,
on the 2nd and 3rd February, 1780, the sale including his graving
tools and colours for painting, 'among which (says the catalogue)
is a quantity of his very curious and much esteemed lake' (crimson,
scarlet and yellow).
signature of this medallist is R. YEO and YEO, and research shows
that his father John was also involved in the business. The family
had lived in London for several generations. Richard's great grandfather,
Henry, was a wealthy embroiderer and was probably from the Swimbridge
or Wiltshire Yeo family. His son Henry was a goldsmith and painter.
This was the time when the different companies were evolving in
London and John was probably apprenticed to his father before going
into business as a medallist
The Culloden Medal with the Duke of Cumberland as Hercules and below the head of the Duke of Cumberland designed by Richard
the medals enumerated above he made two of the prize medals for
Winchester College, and two of the admission tickets for Vauxhall
Gardens are signed by him. Several other Vauxhall tickets may also
be attributed to him, and if the well known 'Hogarth' ticket for
Vauxhall is rightly assigned to him, he must have begun work as
a medallist before May, 1733, the date when Jonathan Tyers presented
Hogarth with the ticket in question
ticket for life admission to Vauxhall Gardens was possibly
designed by Richard Yeo, an engraver who taught at St Martin's
Lane Academy, of which Hogarth was one of the founders in
1735. The obverse is embossed with the figures of Virtue (Virtus)
and Pleasure (Voluptas) above the inscription 'Felices Una'
('One of the Blessed'). The reverse is engraved Hogarth in
perpetuam Beneficii memoriam ('Hogarth, in perpetual memory
of his favour everlasting').
was also a sitter in two famous paintings, one of which was The
Academicians of the Royal Academy by John Sanders, a watercolour,
painted in 1773. (see below)
more of Richard's work
214 Great Britain. Pattern 1/3 Guinea in Gold, 1776. By Richard
Yeo. George III laureate bust, facing right. Crowned lion on
reverse standing on a larger crown. Plain edge. WR-137. R3:
Extremely Rare. Despite some tiny contact marks, this is an
unusually nice example of this classic little gold pattern,
struck the same year as America's independence was declared.
Unlike most known pieces, it has no flan flaws, the planchet
itself is even and full, the strike is greatly detailed, and
there remains a brilliant reflectivity to the surfaces. PCGS
graded Proof 63 Cameo. Color photo. Estimated Value $1,500-2,000.
Lot 212 Great Britain. Half Guinea, 1775. George III, 3rd Head. Type of S-3733. WR-129. Plain edge. DM-87. This is a very rare (R3) Proof of Record showing the late bust British Gold Coins of the king (portrait by Yeo) with long curls draped beneath the bust and a sort of melon-shaped head. Small abrasions on the face (might be contemporary graffiti). The best one seen. PCGS graded Proof 63. Color photo. Estimated Value $6,000-8,000. Ex Brooker and ex Herman Selig Collection.
The following medals may be mentioned: 1746 Culloden Medal: 1748 Freemasons of Minorca: Academy of Ancient Music: 1752, Chancellor's Medal, Cambridge: 1760, Captain Wilson's Voyage to China.
left a will when he died in 1779, and left most of his money to
his nephew Henry Nailstone, and his daughter Elizabeth Nailstone.
He also mentions his son in law, John Carpin.