Bower, George (DNB00)


BOWER, or BOWERS, GEORGE (fl. 1681), medallist, worked principally in the reigns of Charles II and James II, and for a short time under William III. In January 1664 he was appointed 'embosser in ordinary' (engraver) to the Mint, an office which he continued to hold till his death in the early part of 1689-90. He executed numerous medals for the royal family as well as for private persons, and his work displays considerable skill, though it is inferior in finish and execution to that of the Roettiers, the well-known medallists of the same period. The most interesting of all his medals is, perhaps, the specimen struck to commemorate the acquittal of the Earl of Shaftesbury on the charge of high treason, showing on the obverse the bust of the earl, and on the reverse the legend 'Lætamur, 24 Nov. 1681,' and a view of London with the sun bursting from behind a cloud. It was the production of this specimen which gave rise to Dryden's satire on Shaftesbury entitled 'The Medal:'

Five days he sate for every cast and look,
Four more than God to finish Adam took;
But who can tell what essence angels are,
Or how long Heaven was making Lucifer?

Bower also executed in the reign of Charles II the Restoration medal (1660: reverse, Jupiter destroying prostrate giants, signed 'G. Bower '), the marriage medal (1662: signed 'G. B.'), and medals relating to the popish and Rye House plots. Of the medals made by him under James II, we may mention a piece commemorating the defeat of Monmouth (signed ' G. Bowers'), and specimens referring to the trial of the seven bishops. He further produced a medal celebrating the landing of William (III) at Torbay, 1688, and the coronation medal of William and Mary, 1689.

[Grueber's Guide to English Medals exhibited in British Museum, reff. in Index of Artists, s. v. 'Bower.' and ib. p. xx, p. 39; Hawkins's Medallic Illustrations, ed. Franks and Grueber; Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1664, p. 462; Numismatic Chronicle, 1841, iii. p. 177; Calendar of Treasury Papers, 1556-7-1696, pp. 53, 106, 110.]

W. W.