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A Short History of Medici

The Medici Society was founded in 1908 by Philip Lee Warner and Eustace Gurney. The company's original aim was to bring artists' work to the appreciation of a wider public, and subjects were chosen for their artistic value, beauty or sentiment and were sold "for the lowest price commercially possible".

The name Medici was selected after the great Florentine family who did so much to encourage art in the Italian Renaissance. The profile of Lorenzo de' Medici (1449 - 1492), known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, was incorporated into the trade mark.

This trade mark was used on the bulk of Medici's publications until very recently when we decided to change to the white and blue logo in use today.

Initially, the business was run as a society, and members were invited to join and pay a subscription which entitled them to copies of prints as they were published at no extra charge. This structure was later revised and the prints were sold commercially through shops and galleries, but the company retains the Medici Society name to this day. As a result of this comparatively unusual name, many people think that we might be a charitable organisation, but this is not the case. Medici started to publish greeting cards in the 1930s, and some of the artists whose work was published in those days are still in print today. Illustrations by the likes of Margaret Tarrant and Molly Brett prove enduringly popular, particularly so at the moment with the fashion for fairies and related imagery.

The company also diversified into other publications, and today's ranges include social stationery, calendars, seasonal cards for Christmas and Easter, reproduction prints and children's books. You can find a guide to these ranges by following the product links in the menu to the left.

In July 2008 the company sold its greeting card business to the Paper House group, now known as The Great British Card Company, based in Gloucester.

After a ten year hiatus in which The Medici Society was based in North London the company has recently returned home to Islington, London, in the premises originally used by Sir John Betjeman's father as his cabinet making factory and the site of the Medici for over sixty years.

 

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