AN EXHIBITION of a local artist will be taking place alongside the unveiling of a prestigious award in Falmouth.

Following the recently announced reintroduction of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society (RCPS) Medal Awards this spring, The Poly will be giving the community a unique opportunity to view its new, specially commissioned medal.

In an exhibition ‘Unfurling Fern- Introducing the new RCPS Medal’, the new design by Cornwall-based artist Lucy Willow will be on display alongside information about the prestigious awards.

There will also be the opportunity to view original RCPS medals, as well as design drawings and other works by the artist, offering a fascinating insight into the process of creating a new medal.

The exhibition will precede the Awards ceremony taking place on 20th April 2023.

The Poly was delighted that Lucy, a Falmouth University lecturer and highly regarded specialist in medal art, agreed to take on the design of the new medal. 

An award-winning medallist herself, in 2018 she also received the British Art Medal Society’s (BAMS) Marsh Award for the Encouragement of Medallic Art in recognition of her success supporting Falmouth University students in the BAMS annual medal competition.

Lucy’s image of an ‘Unfurling Fern’ brings the medals stunningly up to date, with a design that beautifully suggests new life and growth.

First awarded in the 1830s, the RCPS medals played a pivotal role in The Poly’s early history.

One of the medal recipients was Alfred Nobel in 1865. The relaunch of the Medal Awards, almost two hundred years since the RCPS’s founding, will celebrate the range of exciting, innovative work taking place in Cornwall today across these categories.

In a statement about her design for the new RCPS medal, produced in collaboration with Bigbury Mint, the artist said: "The unfurling fern spreads outwards to meet the wind, the elements, and the insects in the garden.

"Much of my work as an artist comes from observing small details in my garden and using these as a metaphor to make drawings or sculptural works.

"There is something so joyful and celebratory about the fiddlehead, the new growth on a fern. It became the perfect metaphor to use for the design on one side of the medal."

This free exhibition will take place from Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 February in The Poly’s Spring Gallery.