George Canning, Portrait Medal
One of the series of "Great Men" produced by Samuel Parker. They were priced at one guinea. "Parker was a London craftsman working principally in bronze. He was almost certainly the grandson of William Parker, a glass manufacturer, and the son of Samuel Parker, who took over the family business at 69 Fleet Street in 1798. William Parker and his successors were George IV's chief lighting suppliers, providing him with chandeliers, patent lamps, candlearms and lanterns. These were usually of cut glass and incorporated gilt-bronze fittings. The younger Samuel Parker worked with his father and brother for a time but by 1820 he had moved to 35 Argyll Street and set up on his own account as a bronze manufacturer. From 1824 onwards he had a workshop at 12 Argyll Place, in addition to the Argyll Street house. On addition to his ornamental work, Parker was responsible for a number of small bronze busts. At the Great Exhibition of 1851 a Mr Peachey showed a bronze bust of Sir Thomas Lawrence by Parker, 'made in London from a model produced at great cost and afterwards destroyed'). A bronze high-relief portrait of Sir Walter Scott after Samuel Joseph in the Ashmolean is thought to be Parker's work because it is similar to the portrait of Henry Mackenzie, which is inscribed 'SAML JOSEPH SCULPSIT / S. PARKER FECIT XII ARGYLL PLACE / PUBLISHD / AS THE ACT DIRECTS / LONDON FEBY VI / MDCCCXXX'. In spite of his apparent success Parker found himself in financial difficulties and he was declared bankrupt in 1832. At that time he was still executing work for Buckingham Palace and a considerable number of ornaments for the drawing room chimneypieces had yet to be cast. Parker refused to give up the models and these chimneypieces and overmantels appear to have been abandoned.
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