Commemorative, Historical and Art Medals (6 December 2012)

Date of Auction: 6th December 2012

Sold for £5,800

Estimate: £2,500 - £3,000

Royal Geographical Society, Founders Medal, a gold award after W. Wyon, bust of William IV right, rev. Britannia standing left, sextant and globe at her feet, edge named (Charles M. Doughty, 1912), 55mm, 124.65g (BHM 1467; E 1229; Poulsom 88). Obverse glazed in lunette, extremely fine and very rare, of particular Arabic interest; in official maroon gilt-blocked case by Wyon, 2 Langham Chambers, London W £2,500-3,000


Charles Montagu Doughty (1843-1926), poet, writer and traveller, b. Theberton Hall, Saxmundham; graduated from Gonville and Caius, Cambridge, 1864; studied geology in Norway, then Erasmus in Holland; travelled throughout Europe, 1870-4; journeyed from Palestine through Lebanon to the Gulf of Aqaba, then studied Arabic in Damascus before disguising himself and setting out in a caravan bound for Mecca, at the time [1876] a place forbidden to non-Muslims on pain of death. Returning to England in 1878 he commenced work on his magnum opus, Travels in Arabia Deserta, published in 1888 to critical acclaim. Doughty’s poetic works were less popular but late in life he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s gold medal and a government pension, while the great Arabist T.E. Lawrence resdiscovered Travels in Arabia Deserta and had it republished in 1921. Further biographical detail of this ‘most obstinate of men’ is sold with the lot