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The design of three flowing figures was Stevens’ (rejected) entry to a competition held in 1856 to create ‘The Local Art Prize Medal of the Department of Science and Art’.

Philip Attwood, the retiring keeper of the department of coins and medals at the BM, wrote about this piece in The Medals of Alfred Stevens (1992) based on sketches and a plaster model in the V&A.

At that time he did not know of the bronze medal, so it seems fitting that this should be his last acquisition as keeper.

The 6in (15cm) uniface bronze was originally in the collection of Sir Charles Holroyd (1861-1917).

Last recorded at the Stevens memorial exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1911-12, it emerged for sale from the collection of the architect and exhibition and museum designer, Alan Irvine. The price was not disclosed.