Royal Asiatic Society Triennial Gold Medal

Scope and Content

The records of the Gold Medal cover the institution of the medal and the conferment of the Honour in subsequent years. They include examples of the medal, the original Declaration of Trust, and subsequent printed version of the declaration, correspondence and newspaper cuttings. However there are not records for all instances of the presentation of the Medal. Researchers are advised to also examine the Council Minutes and the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (both held in the RAS Collections) when researching concerning the Gold Medal and its recipients.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded by the eminent Sanskrit scholar Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke on the 15th March 1823. It received its Royal Charter from King George IV on the 11th August 1824 'for the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia'. It continues as a forum for those who are interested in the languages, cultures and history of Asia to meet and exchange ideas.



The idea of a Gold Medal to honour eminent British Orientalists was first suggested in 1887, but the matter was postponed until 1897 when a decision was made to institute a Gold medal to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria. A committee, formed under the direction of Mr (later Sir) A.N. Wollaston, chose a design for the medal based on the banyan tree. In 1898 the Society launched an appeal for funds to finance the cost of the new medal. By the end of 1899 nearly £300 had been subscribed. The first medal was presented on 25 May, 1898, by Lord Reay, president of the RAS, to Professor E.B. Cowell, an eminent Sanskrit scholar.



The Gold Medal was presented at approximately three year intervals until 1990. It has been awarded to:

  • 1897 – Professor E.B. Cowell (1826-1903)
  • 1900 – Sir E.W. West (1824-1905)
  • 1903 – Sir William Muir (1819-1905)
  • 1906 – Rev. G. U. Pope (1820-1908)
  • 1909 – Sir G.A. Grierson (1851-1941)
  • 1912 - J.F. Fleet (1847-1917)
  • 1915 – Miss Agnes Smith Lewis (1843-1926) and her sister, Mrs Margaret Dunlop Gibson (1843-1920)
  • 1918 – V.A. Smith (1848-1920)
  • 1922 –Professor H.A. Giles (1870-1935)
  • 1925 - Rev. A.H. Sayce (1869-1933)
  • 1928 – Professor D.S. Margoliouth (1858-1940)
  • 1932 – Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943)
  • 1935 – Sir Denison Ross (1871-1940)
  • 1938 – Professor R.A. Nicholson (1865-1940)
  • 1941 – Professor F.W. Thomas (1867-1956)
  • 1944 – Sir John Marshall (1876-1958)
  • 1947 – Sir Richard Winstedt (1878-1963)
  • 1950 – Dr L.D. Barnett (1871-1960)
  • 1953 – Sir Ralph Turner (1888-1983)
  • 1956 – Professor W. Perceval Yetts (1878-1957)
  • 1959 – Sir Archibald Creswell (1880-1974)
  • 1962 – Professor Valdimir Minorsky (1977-1966)
  • 1965 – Professor G.H. Luce (1889-1979)
  • 1968 – Sir Hamilton Gibb (1895-1971)
  • 1971 – Sir Harold Bailey
  • 1973 – Sir Gerard L.M. Clauson (1891- 1974)
  • 1977 – Professor W. Simon (1893-1980)
  • 1984 – Professor Sukamar Sen (1900-1992)
  • 1990 – Professor Ann K.S. Lambton (1912-2008)

Arrangement

The archive has been arranged into series representing the conferment of each medal. Thus:

  • RAS TGM/1 - Inauguration of the Triennial Gold Medal
  • RAS TGM/2 - 1897 – Professor E.B. Cowell
  • RAS TGM/3 - 1900 – Sir E.W. West
  • RAS TGM/4 - 1903 – Sir William Muir
  • RAS TGM/5 - 1906 – Rev. G. U. Pope
  • RAS TGM/6 - 1909 – Sir G.A. Grierson
  • RAS TGM/7 - 1912 – J.F. Fleet
  • RAS TGM/8 - 1915 - Mrs A. S. Lewis and Mrs M. D. Gibson
  • RAS TGM/9 - 1918 – V.A. Smith
  • RAS TGM/10 - 1922 – Professor H.A. Giles
  • RAS TGM/11 - 1925 – Rev. A.H. Sayce
  • RAS TGM/12 - 1928 – Professor D.S. Margoliouth
  • RAS TGM/13 - 1932 – Sir Aurel Stein
  • RAS TGM/14 - 1935 – Sir Denison Ross
  • RAS TGM/15 - 1938 – Professor R.A. Nicholson
  • RAS TGM/16 - 1941 – Professor F.W. Thomas
  • RAS TGM/17 - 1944 – Sir John Marshall
  • RAS TGM/18 - 1947 – Sir Richard Winstedt
  • RAS TGM/19 - 1950 – Dr L.D. Barnett
  • RAS TGM/20 - 1953 – Sir Ralph Turner
  • RAS TGM/21 - 1956 – Professor W. Perceval Yetts
  • RAS TGM/22 - 1959 – Sir Archibald Creswell
  • RAS TGM/23 - 1962 – Professor Valdimir Minorsky
  • RAS TGM/24 - 1965 – Professor G.H. Luce
  • RAS TGM/25 - 1968 – Sir Hamilton Gibb
  • RAS TGM/26 - 1971 – Sir Harold Bailey
  • RAS TGM/27 - 1973 – Sir Gerard L.M. Clauson
  • RAS TGM/28 - 1974 - (Professor David Hawkes)
  • RAS TGM/29 - 1977 – Professor W. Simon
  • RAS TGM/30 - 1980
  • RAS TGM/31 - 1984 – Professor Sukamar Sen
  • RAS TGM/32 - 1990 – Professor Ann K.S. Lambton

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Some access may be restricted due to Data Protection Issues. Please contact the archivist. nc@royalasiaticsociety.org The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID and proof of address

Acquisition Information

These are part of the institutional records of the Royal Asiatic Society which have been accumulated throughout its history.

Archivist's Note

The Archive was catalogued in 2018 by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist. Though not all occasions in which the Medal was awarded have archival material, a series was created for each instance in case material comes to light at a later date and to inform researchers where information concerning each conferment of the Medal can be found.

Separated Material

There has not been a systematic keeping of records throughout the history of the Royal Asiatic Society and therefore some of the series have few items and, in some cases, no records remain.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

These records are part of the Royal Asiatic Society's Institutional Records and therefore part of the historical records of the Society.

Related Material

The Council Minutes Books of the Royal Asiatic Society have decisions minuted regarding the institution of the Medal and conferment of each Medal. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society also contains information in its "Proceedings of the Royal Asiatic Society" sections. Refer to each individual series for details of where to find this supplementary material.

Personal Names

Geographical Names