Triumph and disaster: medals of the Sun King, guest-curated by Mark Jones1 in the tercentenary year of the death of Louis XIV, explores the ‘Medallic History’ of Louis’ reign. Drawn from the British Museum’s own collection, which preserves these medals as they were in Louis XIV’s own day, from the British Library which has a unique manuscript scrapbook of drawings and notes on the creation of the history, and the V&A, this exhibition investigates the ideology behind this great commemorative project. The greatest writers (including Jean Racine), historians, artists and medallists of the day were brought together by the king to ensure that posterity would see his rule as Louis wished it to be seen: the reign of an ideal and ever victorious monarch, a Sun King whose benevolent rays warmed and illuminated the whole world. At the start of Louis’ reign he was young and handsome; and France was prosperous

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