Attwood, Philip

Art historian and numismatist, former Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum, London

Philip Attwood (* 1954) obtained his Honours Degree in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Birmingham in 1975. After a temporary curatorship at the British Museum, he became Curator in the Museum’s Department of Coins and Medals, with responsibility for modern coins and subsequently for medals. In 2010, he was appointed Keeper of Coins and Medals. At the same time he retained direct responsibility for the collection of ca. 50,000 medals, comprising commemorative and art medals from the Italian Renaissance to contemporary works.

Philip Attwood’s exhibition projects have included “Artistic Circles: the medal in Britain 1880-1918” (1992), “Modernism in French medal design” (1997) and “Reflections of Glory: the medallic art of 16th-century Italy” (2002). He was also co-organizer of “Medals of Dishonour” in 2009.

In his research, Philip Attwood focuses particularly on Italian sixteenth century and British nineteenth century medals, but he has also written numerous articles on other medallic subjects, in scholarly journals and books as in exhibition catalogs. He is the author of “British art medals 1982-2002” (2002), “Italian medals, c.1530-1600, in British public collections” (2003), and “Hard at work. The diary of Leonard Wyon (1853-1867)” (2014), among others.

Philip Attwood is President of the Fédération Internationale de la Médaille d’Art (FIDEM). He is also a Vice-President of the British Art Medal Society and editor of the society’s journal, “The Medal”, as well as honorary curator of the medal collection of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, London.

Philip Attwood is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company, Freeman of the City of London, Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, and Honorary Member of the Royal Numismatic Society of Belgium. He won the Lhotka Prize in 1992 (for “Artistic circles: the medal in Britain 1880-1918”, 1992) and 2003 (for “British Art Medals 1982-2002”, 2002).

You can reach Philip Attwood by e-mail.

And this is Philip Attwood on the websites of FIDEM and the British Art Medal Society. 

He has an entry on and on LinkedIn.

And, as he was closely involved in choosing the designer for the London 2012 Olympic Games medals, you can read Philip Attwood elaborating on the decision making process here.

*as of 1 May 2020