Seal Matrix

1553-1554 (made)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 58b
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This seal matrix was pressed upon warm wax to create a personalised image and act as a secure seal for documents. A seal denoted the legality of the document and the identification of the issuing authority or individual.

Heraldry
The matrix bears the full heraldic 'achievement' of Sir John Constable. It comprises a shield with emblems, a helmet, a crest and mantling. The shield is in the form known as 'Tuscan' and bears the heraldic emblems describing Constable's descent. The barred helmet facing to the side indicates his rank as a Knight. The mantling takes the form of elaborate scrolling foliage, and the emblem of the crest is that of a dragon's head.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silver, cast and engraved
Brief Description
Seals
Physical Description
Seal with the arms of Constable
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 7cm
  • Depth: 1.5cm
  • With flap up depth: 4cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Inscription: 'THE: ARMES: OF IOHNE: CONSTABLE: OF: HALLSAM: KNYGHT: LORD: OF HOLDERNES: AND: OF: ALL:THE: LIBERTIES: OF: THE: SAME'
Gallery Label
British Galleries: PERSONAL SEALS
Coats of arms were used as a personal signature not just by the very powerful but by many members of the gentry, including women, and by holders of various offices. After about 1550 it became common for gentlemen to wear a signet ring with their family arms. The revolving seal ring was made for a member of the Throckmorton family and shows their Falcon crest. It also bears the coat of arms of the more powerful Carew family, because of the alliance through marriage of the two families. The large seal would have been used to authorise important documents.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Made for Sir John Constable of Halsham, Yorkshire, (died 1587), probably to mark his elevation to the knighthood in 1553

Made in England
Production
Probably 1553-1554
Summary
Object Type
This seal matrix was pressed upon warm wax to create a personalised image and act as a secure seal for documents. A seal denoted the legality of the document and the identification of the issuing authority or individual.

Heraldry
The matrix bears the full heraldic 'achievement' of Sir John Constable. It comprises a shield with emblems, a helmet, a crest and mantling. The shield is in the form known as 'Tuscan' and bears the heraldic emblems describing Constable's descent. The barred helmet facing to the side indicates his rank as a Knight. The mantling takes the form of elaborate scrolling foliage, and the emblem of the crest is that of a dragon's head.
Collection
Accession Number
M.118-1978

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record createdMay 5, 1999
Record URL