A George III silver medal for the Edinburgh Amphitheatre
dated 1790 Of oval shape, engraved to both sides it may also have been a badge or an entry pass, length 5cm.
The front engraved; Edinburgh Amphitheatre January 1790. The reverse engraved; The Right Honourable, Henry Dundas, Treasurer of the Navy.
The position of 'Treasurer' existed from the mid 16th century until being abolished in 1836 when the role was integrated into that of the Paymaster-General. Responsibilities of the Treasurer included the financial running of The Royal Navy, but the post was used by young politicians as a stepping stone to greater political power and position. Henry Dundas held the position between 1784-1800.
A comparable medal, inscribed 'James Dewar Esq. of Vogrie', is to be found in the collection of the National Museums of Scotland.
The amphitheatre is discussed in 'A New Guide To The City Of Edinburgh Containing A Description Of All The Public Buildings And A Concise History Of The City From The Earliest Periods to The Present Time Embellished With Elegant Engravings Of The Public Buildings' 3rd Edition, Published by T Brown, North Bridge, Edinburgh 1797.
'This building is erected not far from the theatre on the road to Leith; and was opened in 1790 for equestrian exhibitions, pantomime entertainments, dancing and tumbling. The circus is 60 ft diameter, and will hold about 1500 spectators. The great attention of the managers to procure the best performers in this way, received for a while the warm support of the people of Edinburgh. The amphitheatre is now chiefly employed as a riding school, where ladies and gentleman are taught equestrian exercises. Mr Kemble attempted, one season, unsuccessfully, to convert it into a theatre. But, in the winter of 1795-6, pantomime, dancing and tumbling have again begun to receive that encouragement in Edinburgh which they at first found'.
Provenance; The private collection of the late Johnny Noble of Ardkinglas and thence by descent.