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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1815-20 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved citrine mounted in gold

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Miss P. M. Sheward

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 66, shelf D, box 12

This type of seal is known as a fob seal. It would have been attached to a gentleman’s watch chain and worn just below the waist from a small trouser pocket known as a ‘fob’. Seals were functional as well as decorative items, at a time when letters had to be sealed with wax. The three-sided topaz of this swivelling seal is engraved with a scene of smoke billowing from burning ships at the Battle of Trafalgar of 1805 (when the British under Nelson defeated the French). The inscription reads ‘ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN THIS DAY WILL DO HIS DUTY’. The words were engraved in reverse so that they would be the right way round on the sealing wax. The deeply chased scrolls and flowers of the gold mount are typical of the Rococo Revival of the early 19th century.

Physical description

Gold with citrine, one face with an intaglio with Battle of Trafalgar (1805)
Inscribed 'England expects that every man this day will do his duty.'

Place of Origin

England (made)


1815-20 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraved citrine mounted in gold

Marks and inscriptions

'England expects that every man this day will do his duty.'


Height: 4.3 cm

Descriptive line

England, about 1815-20
Gold, with citrine, one face with an intaglio with the Battle of Trafalgar (1805)
Inscribed, 'England expects that every man this day will do his duty'


Gold; Citrine

Subjects depicted



Jewellery; Accessories; A Year of Objects: October, Trafalgar Day


Metalwork Collection

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