Portrait medallion issued on the death of the naturalist Joseph-Paul Gaimard, and given to subscribers to the monument to his memory erected by "his friends" at the Cimetière du Montparnasse. GAIMARD, Louis-Felix CHABAUD.
Portrait medallion issued on the death of the naturalist Joseph-Paul Gaimard, and given to subscribers to the monument to his memory erected by "his friends" at the Cimetière du Montparnasse.

Portrait medallion issued on the death of the naturalist Joseph-Paul Gaimard…
Portrait medallion issued on the death of the naturalist Joseph-Paul Gaimard, and given to subscribers to the monument to his memory erected by "his friends" at the Cimetière du Montparnasse.

[Paris]: 1858.

Bronze medal, 51 mm. diameter, "ses amis souscripteurs" obverse and "Paul Gaimard" reverse, lettered "Chabaud" under the Gaimard bust.

Commemorative medallion for one of the greatest voyagers

Rare: a fine medallion issued to the friends of Joseph-Paul Gaimard who had subscribed to a statue in his memory. Gaimard was one of the most important scientists to sail on any of the French grands voyages, a veteran of both the Freycinet and Dumont d'Urville expeditions and the author of a series of highly significant monographs on the zoology of Australia and the Pacific.

Rare: a fine medallion issued to the friends of Joseph-Paul Gaimard who had subscribed to a statue in his memory. Gaimard was one of the most important scientists to sail on any of the French grands voyages, a veteran of both the Freycinet and Dumont d'Urville expeditions and the author of a series of highly significant monographs on the zoology of Australia and the Pacific.
Joseph-Paul Gaimard (1793-1858) made two major circumnavigations, the first with Louis de Freycinet (1817-1820) and the second with Jules Dumont d'Urville (1826-1829). The second voyage almost killed him, and he felt lucky to make it home to Marseille. Together with his lifelong friend Jean René Constant Quoy, Gaimard published several important works, notably the zoological atlases for the official accounts of both the Freycinet and Dumont d'Urville voyages in which he had taken part, as well as working on a similar volume based on the discoveries made on the Duperrey voyage as well.
In the late 1820s Gaimard, a qualified doctor and member of l'Académie de médecine, researched the cholera morbus, travelling particularly into Russia to study the effects of the disease (see his Du choléra-morbus en Russie, Paris, 1832). He remained very close to his former commander Freycinet (a large suite of letters from Gaimard to Freycinet are held by the National Library of Australia) and happened to be back in Paris in 1832 when the cholera struck France: Gaimard personally helped Rose de Freycinet nurse her husband Louis through the disease, but despite all of their best efforts, they were not able to save Rose when she was struck down in turn, dying on 7 May 1832. In his later life he travelled in Iceland and Scandinavia, and published two important works on his Baltic discoveries.
As the medal makes clear, Gaimard himself lived until 1858, dying in Paris and being buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse.
The medal was designed by the French sculptor and engraver Louis-Félix Chabaud, winner of the Prix de Rome for engraving in 1848, and particularly associated with the Palais Garnier in Paris and some public work in Aix. Chabaud was also the sculptor who contributed the portrait bust atop the Gaimard monument, hence his involvement with the present medal. The actual monument, very like that depicted on the obverse of this medal, still stands at Montparnasse.
Research shows that there does not appear to be an example of this medal in any Australian collection. Given that it was only issued to subscribers to the Gaimard memorial, the number struck is likely to have been quite modest. There is definitely an example in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris (ND4413), which confirms an 1858 date of issue.

Provenance: Private collection, New South Wales

Adrien Blanchet, Manuel et Numismatique Française (Paris:1930); online catalogue of the Musée Carnavalet.

Price (AUD): $2,650.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504778

Condition Report