Medal of National Restoration (Médaille de la Restauration Nationale / Medaille van de Nationale Herstelling), 1914-18, rare gilt bilingual version by Alfonse Mauquoy
Circular gilt bronze medal with laterally-pierced ball suspension; the face with the head and shoulders portrait of a female figure facing left, wearing a headscarf, her right hand across her bosom, a bouquet of flowers in the crook of her arm, scaffolding on a tower under repair in the background, smoking industrial chimneys in the distance, signed ‘ALF. MAUQUOY’ (for the Belgian Art Nouveau artist Alfonse Mauquoy, 1880-1954); the reverse with the ruins of Ypres, the cathedral central, dated ‘1914’ and ‘1918’ to either side, a tablet below inscribed ‘SOUVENIR DE LA RESTAURATION NATIONALE’ and ‘AANDENKEN VAN DE NATIONALE HERSELLING’, an oak leaf to either side, initialed ‘AM’; on probably replaced correct ribbon. The medal was instituted on 22 May 1928 to recognize outstanding service in repairing the damage caused by four years of war and occupation during World War I. The original version had only a French inscription to the reverse; this version also has the inscription in Flemish and a gilt finish. A rare variant of one of the rarest Belgian medals.
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