King Charles III coins: Artist who designed King Charles III coins reveals inspiration behind designs
Martin Jennings worked painstakingly for a year, alongside experts at the Royal Mint, to create the portrait of Charles on the front of the new coins.
He used images taken to mark the now King’s 70th birthday in 2018 for the portrait, before choosing the typeface and layout of the inscription with designers at the official coin maker in Llantrisant, south Wales.
Mr Jenning’s initials, MJ, feature in tiny letters by the King’s neck on the coin.
He said he used images of previous Kings – who traditionally appear uncrowned – when designing Charles’ portrait.
“I was inspired by effigies of George VI and Edward VIII from the 1930s,” Mr Jennings said.
“My mother gave me a little sack of coins which she had collected as a child and I looked at those.
“There were these lovely big old pennies with the king of them. I love to think of them rattling through people’s pockets before the Second World War.
“Each of those coins represents a purchase and a transfer, it makes me wonder how many stories are attached to each coin.”
Mr Jennings said he worked in “close collaboration” with experts at the Royal Mint to create Charles’ portrait on the front of the coins.
He described seeing them in person at the Royal Mint site as “astonishing”, with so much work and skill distilled into a small coin that would be reproduced millions of times.
The artist officially started production of 50 pence coins, in memory of Queen Elizabeth II, at the Royal Mint’s site.
A total of 9.6 million of the coins were initially struck. They began appearing in the public’s change from December.
Mr Jennings, who is based in Chichester, works in the figurative tradition, in bronze and stone.
His statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras railway station in London was unveiled in 2007 and the statue of Philip Larkin at Hull Paragon Interchange station was presented in 2010.
His statue of Mary Seacole (2016), one of his largest works, stands in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital in central London, looking over the Thames towards the Houses of Parliament.
Also in 2014, Jennings completed a bronze statue of Charles Dickens, which was unveiled in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, the city of the author's birth.
In June 2016, a statue by Jennings was installed paying tribute to the women who worked in the armaments industry during the Second World War and was sited in front of Sheffield's City Hall. He was given the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association's 2017 Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture.