'Mountain Spirit', reverse side of Simplon medal, 1807.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The obverse side of this bronze medal by N G A Brenet shows the head of Napoleon I, Emperor of France. The medal was struck to commemorate the commisioning by Napoleon of a carriage road to cros the Alps via the Simplon Pas, to improve communications between France and Italy. Copper alloys, such as bronze, have a range of pleasing colours ranging from salmon pink, through the reds and yellows of gilding metals and bronzes, to the green and silvery tinges of the high zinc and high tin alloys. Commemorative medals were often struck in bronze.