James Smithson, Engraving from Medallion

ID: SIA2008-2446

Creator: Burt, Charles

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1879

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7000, Box 5, Folder: 6

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Engraving is based on a side view Neo-Classical bust of James Smithson in bas relief attributed to the Engraver General of France, Pierre Joseph Tiolier (1763-1819), which was part of Smithson's personal effects. Medallion had the word 'my likeness' in Smithson's hand. Original steel-plate portrait, engraved by J.W. Paradise of New York in 1847, was destroyed in 1865 Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle" fire, but this engraving was produced by Charles Burt of New York in 1879. Image includes reproduction of Smithson's signature.


  • Tiolier, Pierre Joseph 1763 - 1819
  • Canova, Antonio 1757-1822
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Burt, Charles
  • Paradise, J. W


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


For additional information, see Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Volume 21, pp. viii, 10 and 16, and pamphlet on The Smithsonian Seal prepared by Richard Stamm of the Office of Architectural History and Historic Preservation. The medallion was originally attributed to the Italian artist Antonio Canova, but the "T" mark on the medallion identifies it as created by Pierre Joseph Tiolier.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7000, Box 5, Folder: 6

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Portrait medallions
  • Art
  • Engraving
  • Benefactors
  • Smithson family
  • Philanthropists
  • Art objects


  • Photographic print
  • Engraving

ID Number


Physical description

Color: sepia; Size: 6w x 7 1/2h; Type of Image: Person; Medium: Engraving, steel plate

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