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Egyptian Medal (1882): CM.1218-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: Birmingham
Artist: Wyon, Leonard Charles
Artist: Pinches, John
Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901)
Ruler: Victoria regina et imperatrix (With the title of)




Victorian-period Egypt was technically a dependency of the Ottoman Empire, but in fact the Khedive, Tewfik Pasha, was effectively in the hands of Britain and France, for whom control of the Suez Canal was a strategic necessity. Egypt's shaky economic situation endangering this, in 1879 Britain and France took over government in an arrangement of dual control. This foreign influence was much resented in Egypt, and especially within the army. A Colonel by the name of Ahmad Urabi (Arabi Pasha) became the spearhead of the movement, which launched a coup in 1882. After some international indecision this was suppressed by British arms, and this medal awarded to those involved.
The bars of the medal however relate to a later campaign, against Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad ibn al-Sayyid 'Abd Allah and his allies, who after the proclamation of Muhammad Ahmad as Mahdi (the legendary final redeemer of Islam) in 1881 threatened to remove the Sudan, technically an Egyptian possession, entirely from the Khedive's control. Several serious defeats of Egyptian forces in 1884 led to a concerted British campaign, which included battles at el-Teb and at the Red Sea port of Suakim against Beja rebels ("fuzzie-wuzzies", as the British called them) under Usman Digna. Neither battle was a lasting success and the British withdrew their forces to Egypt and Khartoum, prior to a planned withdrawal that in fact became impossible.
This medal was awarded to Gunner A. Chittle of the 6th Battalion, 1st Scots Division, Royal Artillery, for participation in the initial 1882 campaign, but he clearly fought in the 1884 campaign too. Lester Watson acquired his medal at some point before 1928.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, acquired before 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.1 mm
Weight: 43.38 g

Place(s) associated

  • Birmingham

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


1882 CE - 1890 CE

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left with veil

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Sphynx on pedestal facing left

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1218-2009
Primary reference Number: 141312
Watson Catalogue: 112
Ordering: M-0101
Previous object number: LW.0101
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 15 January 2024 Last processed: Monday 15 January 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Egyptian Medal (1882)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-22 15:15:00

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{{cite web|url= |title=Egyptian Medal (1882) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-22 15:15:00|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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