Starting in 2014, the Portrait of Britain Collection is intended to be an annual series of coin sets that portray popular and recognisable landmarks, buildings and natural phenomena from all over the United Kingdom. The idea is that each set is linked by a common theme, and that over time those themed sets will combine to build what the collection promises; a complete ‘Portrait of Britain’.
The Portrait of Britain Collection
For this first Portrait of Britain set, the common theme is the recognisable landmarks and buildings of London. We’ve pulled together just three facts about each one for you, to set the scene. There are, of course, many more we will talk about in future articles, so stay with us!
The Trinity House two pound coin appropriately features a lighthouse, so we’ve taken that to its logical conclusion by photographing it very near one! This coin is, in fact, resting on a rock at the site of the Beachy Head lighthouse, off the Sussex Downs coast.
We thought you’d enjoy some facts, figures and swashbuckling tales about Trinity House and the new £2 coin – so here’s our Top 10:
As a similarly ancient British institution (although not quite as old as us!) we can’t help but feel an affinity with Trinity House or, to give them their full title, the Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond. The House itself is situated on Tower Hill, not too far from our previous home at the Tower of London – indeed, there’s a wonderful view of the Tower from Trinity House.
As the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, it’s responsible for lighthouses, lightvessels, buoys, other navigational aids and communication systems in the seas that surround our shores, as well as providing deep sea pilotage in Northern European waters.
In this instalment of our Queen Anne blog series we move into the years of Queen Anne’s reign in which many political upheavals and cultural changes came about. On-going War with Spain, resolution of long-standing tension with Scotland and the development of a two-party political system are all notable issues Anne dealt with during this period. Anne’s confidence in dealing with and influencing such matters increased, evidenced by her vetoing an Act of Parliament in 1708, the last time this has ever happened. It may be said that this was the period in which Anne truly ‘reigned’ in the full sense of the word.
The second part of our series on the life of Queen Anne looks into the events during the early years of her reign. If you missed part one you can read it here.
Anne ascended the throne on 8th March 1702 following the death of her unpopular brother-in-law, William of Orange. He had shared the throne with Anne’s sister Mary since 1689, and had inherited it for life following Mary’s death in 1694. He and Mary had no children so Anne was the undisputed heiress to the throne following his death in 1702. In contrast to many Kings and Queens before her, Anne came to the throne peacefully…
Both these well-known beliefs are as true today as they’ve ever been, but we believe they can be combined, because coins as love tokens and gifts have long played their part in romantic rituals. There are many records of such traditions, some stretching back centuries. With today’s fashion for all things vintage, maybe now is a good time to resurrect them, so – how would you feel about that special person in your life demonstrating their love for you with the gift of a coin?
1672 Britannia coin
Before you answer too quickly, let’s take a look at some of the history and meaning behind such an idea. It is thought that in the 17th Century the love-struck King Charles II was so enamoured of Frances Stewart (ONE of his many loves) that he asked for the design of Britannia on his coinage to be inspired by her beautiful image – although there is no definite record that his wishes were carried out, the diarist Samuel Pepys remarked that the Britannia design did bear a striking resemblance to the future Duchess of Richmond. Her image has changed, but Britannia has remained a feature of modern British coinage ever since – lasting far longer than any marriage ever has!
On Day 10 of our Facebook Advent Calendar, we’re opening the window (see what I did there?) on our Top 10 Festive Facts. A Christmas quiz has become a fun tradition for many people, so I hope these will help you out!
1. Advent Calendars – the first ones appeared in Germany. The BBC History channel refers to printers in Munich being the first to produce them in 1908. Paper and cardboard rationing during the Second World War put an end to them until 1946. Chocolate advent calendars appeared in the UK in the 1950’s after food rationing ended and they soon spread across the globe, with something for everyone – here’s a trendy one and here’s a classical musical one.