The Art Union of London was founded in 1837 with the aim of bringing Art to the People. Members of the Union paid an annual subscription and in return received pieces of art worth at least the amount of their subscription.
They also had the opportunity to win objects of art of considerable value through an annual lottery. A series of 30 medals were struck on behalf of the Art Union to be used as prizes for subscribers.
They commemorated the history of British Art featuring famous artists from the previous 150 years but also served to revive interest in medallist art and British engravers. The medals began in 1843 and ended in 1887.