Sorting through my late mother's jewellery box I found this medal which has intrigued me. On the front is a Art Nouveau picture of a lady wearing a helmet whilst on the back is written NANCY RECORD and a picture of a rifle and pistol with the Lorraine cross (also known as the Free French Cross) surrounded by thistles. There is also a very tiny signature of F Rasumny on the front.
Upon further investigation I have found out that Felix Rasumny (1869 - 1940) was a Russian engraver who emigrated to France. He trained at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs under masters such as Millet (one of my very favourite artists), Gauthier and Tasset.
In my ignorance I started my research thinking Nancy Record was a person but Nancy is the former capital of Lorraine and the home of Art Nouveau in north east France. The thistle is the symbol of Lorraine and is a main feature in the coat of arms of Nancy.
Early Lorraine crosses differed but earlier designs are the same as this one in that the horizontal beams are of equal length and equally spaced. The Lorraine region, because of its location, has hosted many wars and battles. Twice it was annexed by Germanyand when Hitler took control of the region in WWII General de Gaulle chose the Croix de Lorraine as a symbol of resistance against the German advance. This is when it became known as the Free French Cross.
There was also much fighting in this area during WWI and I rather think this medal dates from then or even earlier.
This is all I have found out about it but I am fascinated by its origins and wonder if many of these were made and who they were given to. I haven't found any images or reference to another similar one on the internet.