Wyon City Medal - 1837
Queens head from silver Wyon city medal
William Wyon (1795-1851) became chief engraver at the Royal Mint in 1828, in 1834 he modelled the head of Princess Victoria when she was 15, and this was subsequently used for the City Medal struck in 1837 to celibrate her first visit to the City of London after her accession to the throne when she was 18. This was the model for the head on the line-engraved stamps of 1840-79, the embossed stamps of 1847-54 and the postal stationary 1841-1901. The primary die used for the embossed issue was engraved by William Wyon, and the 1s and 10d stamps have the initials ww along with the die number at the base of the neck. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1838.
His design also influenced the surface-printed stamps first printed in 1855. The name of William Wyon is also well known amongst coin and medal collectors because of his prodigious output and artistic skill.
In all portraits of Queen Victoria on British stamps the hair goes above the ear and over the crown as on the Wyon medal. Queen Victoria also faces to the left on all the stamps. For images showing the design of Queen Victoria's head on stamps during her reign go here.
This is in the tradition of classic Greek sculpture
Princess Victoria was born May 24 1819, she became Queen in 1837 aged 18, and died in Jan 22, 1901 aged 81, she reigned for 63 years. She was twenty when the penny black was issued on 6th May 1840. Over her 61 year reign, she never ages, all the stamps are based on William Wyon's head, see here for the design of Queen Victoria's head over her 61 year reign, Victoria's head.
Wyon medal in silver (click for obverse)
W. Wyon. R.A. detail (R.A.=Royal Academy)
Image source British Postal Museum from the R M Phillips Collection. Vol XLVII.