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Seal and case

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1580 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved sapphire mounted in enamelled gold

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 52, shelf B, box 2 []

Physical description

Sapphire seal engraved with the arms of Knyvett and mounted in enamelled gold, with a gold case, also enamelled.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1580 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraved sapphire mounted in enamelled gold

Marks and inscriptions

engraved with the arms of Knyvett
Probably the personal seal of Sir Thomas Knyvett (1539-1618)

Object history note

When the seal was acquired in 1980 it was suggested that the most likely owner of the seal was Sir Thomas Knyvett (1539-1618), grandson of Sir Thomas Knyvett, Master of the Horse to Henry VIII. Sir Thomas the younger was knighted in 1579/80 when he was made High Sheriff of Norfolk, and he was married to Muriel, daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, Treasurer of the Household to Queen Elizabeth.

However, the seal might also have been commissioned by other grandsons: Sir Henry Knyvett (1537?-1598), who was knighted in 1574, or his younger brother, Sir Thomas Knyvett (1545/6-1622). The last was Keeper of Westminster Palace, Groom of the Privy Chamber, knighted in 1601, a Member of Parliament, and created a peer in 1607. He had done long service at court, and the peerage recognised this and the fact that it was he who arrested Guy Fawkes under the House of Lords in 1605.

Descriptive line

Sapphire seal engraved with the arms of Knyvett and mounted in enamelled gold, with a gold case, also enamelled, England, ca.1580

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Vanke, Francesca. Catalogue entry. In: The Paston Treasure. Microcosm of the Known World, ed. by Andrew Moore, Nathan Flis, and Francesca Vanke. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2018. ISBN: 9780300232905 030023290X. Published to accompany the exhibitions 'The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World' and 'The Paston Treasure: Riches and Rarities of the Known World', co-organized by the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, on view 15 February-27 May 2018, and Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, on view 23 June-23 September 2018.

Labels and date

Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars label text:

The Knyvett Seal and Case
About 1580–90

This seal was designed to be worn as a pendant. It was commissioned by a member of the Knyvett family, possibly Sir Thomas Knyvett. In 1605 he
arrested Guy Fawkes in Westminster preparing to blow up James I and the House of Lords.

Gold, enamel, mounted with a sapphire intaglio
Engraved with the Knyvett coat of arms
V&A M.52&A-1980 []


Enamel; Sapphire; Gold

Subjects depicted

Escutcheons (coats of arms)


Jewellery; Metalwork; Personal accessories


Metalwork Collection

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