Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss

PRISON OF TOURNAY

JEHOTTE, Constant: Belgium, 1871, Bronze, 60 mm
Obv: Exterior view of prison MAISON D'ARRET CELLULAIRE A TOURNAI.
Exergue: JULES BARA, MINISTRE DE LA JUSTICE. N VERHEYSEN, ADMINIST. DES PRISONS J.J. ROUSEAU, INSPECT. DES CONSTRUCT F. DERRE, ARCHIT.
Rev: Floor plan of prison RÈGNE DE LEOPOLD II ROI DES BELGES.
Exergue: 1868-1871
Signed: C. JÉHOTTE F.
Ref:  Weiss BW671

Tournay (Tournai) is a town in the province of Hainaut, Belgium, on the Scheldt, 35 miles southwest of Brussels. In the 5th century it was the seat of the Merovingian kings. It is noted for its fine Romanesque cathedral. Tournay also has a number of fine churches, including the church of St. Brice. In this church is the tomb of Childeric which had among it relics 300 small golden models of bees. The bees were moved to Paris, and when Napoleon was crowned emperor a century and a half later he chose Childeric’s bees for the decoration of his coronation mantle. In this manner the bee became associated with the Napoleonic legend just as the lilies were with the Bourbons.

Tournay is now known for its flourishing manufactures of hosiery, linen, carpets, and porcelain.

Francios Derre, the architect of this prison, was a sculptor as well as an architect. He specialized in the construction of prisons, designing those at Louvain, Hasselt, Gand, Mons, and Termonde, in addition to this one at Tournay.

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