The George Carter-designed Hunt & Roskell silver tableau sold by Hansons on December 7-8 for £56,000.

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I had to admire the fine silver tableau depiting the signing of the Magna Carta by King John, modelled by George A Carter, sold in December 2020.

However, I couldn’t help but think that the artist might have been greatly influenced by a medal produced by Peter van Abeele, c.1650, one of which I have in my possession.

You may note that the group involved with the presentation of the Magna Carta is structured in a very similar manner to that of the granting of Arms to the City of Amsterdam, as depicted by van Abeele on this medal. Both share a tiered platform, a similar balance of figures, a dog and a page boy.


The Peter van Abeele medal showing similarities to the George Carter-designed Hunt & Roskell silver tableau.

In the event that Carter might have used Van Abeele’s medal as a basis for his depiction in any way, to my mind it would take away the originality of the work. However, both parties could have been influenced by an earlier painting. Or perhaps Carter’s similar projection of his work might have been simply a coincidence.

Food for thought, though – I wonder what your readers might think.

Peter F Dawes

Numismatist and retired designer

Bexhill, East Sussex