A Discussion with Jody Clark

A conversation with Jody Clark

For the third time, British master of coin design Jody Clark has reworked the classical St George and the dragon design for us here at Hattons of London, featuring on our latest release; The 2023 Prince George’s 10th Birthday Gold Sovereign Range.

The tale of St George has a long association with the monarch, and also with the gold sovereign coin series. We spoke with Jody Clark about what it was like to create this new rendition of St George slaying the dragon…

Can you talk us through the design process for the Prince George 10th Birthday Gold Sovereign Range Jody.

This one came around a bit differently because I had done some previous St George and the dragon designs for Hattons of London and there was a small sketch which I had done previously that was sent to me by your heritage expert as a starting point for this project. Therefore, I used this sketch as a basis and then worked it up to the final project. I go through the same process with all my designs where I read into the themes and gather lots of images around that theme. For this particular project, I gathered images of the different ways that both St George and the dragon have been treated and looked at their interaction so that I could build up a good collection of reference imagery. I then work with this collection to make a final 2D sketch ready to send to yourselves for approval.

How long does this process take from start to finish?

There can sometimes be several back and forwards with the customer but generally it takes a couple of weeks for the 2D design and then afterwards I sculpt the design which takes another week or so of sculpting into a low relief model and then that also gets sent off for approval. Once that is approved, it will then go off into production and the same file will be used to cut the metal to create the dies and stamp the coin.

The main selling point of this range is that it is ten-sided. What challenges do you face when creating a design where the shape is anything other than circular?

The creative process is similar regardless of the shape. The outside shape is the very first element of the design, so therefore you have to work with that when creating your design. You then have to work with that just to make sure that the inscription and general composition works well with that shape. It is something that you have to be conscious of, because there are coins out there which are square and all types of shapes, so you have to take that into account and make sure it will work well with the composition.

The St George and the dragon design is prestigious in the world of sovereigns. How do you overcome potential pressures when you are tasked with reworking already familiar designs?

Typically, I don’t feel any sort of pressure other than the pressure to create something new and unique. I suppose it can feel like pressure to create a design which will stand out and represent that particular theme well, and do justice to the theme. With this range, the pressure is to add something new to the existing sovereigns with St George and the Dragon designs.

Jody, you have created a St George and the Dragon design for us before. However, this time the design does not feature St George on a horse. What were your reasons for this?

No reason in particular. As I mentioned, the way this project transpired was through one of the ideas which I put forward for another project where the composition caught people’s eye. I particularly liked this design as I like the way that the dragon was interacting with St George, as you can see the dragon’s tail is tied around George’s feet but then you can see that George is still in control over the dragon with his sword.

You have already created designs for King Charles III and Queen Elizabeth II. How did it feel to be part of designing sovereigns for a future king?

It feels great. I have already created a Prince George design before on a £5 coin in celebration of his 5th birthday, so it is nice to be able to design another now that he is older and create a fresh design for this particular occasion to be used on sovereign coins.