Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mastery of Design: Seal and Case, 1580

Seal and Case
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This beauitful engraved sapphire seal mounted in enamelled gold dates to about 1580 and was most likely the seal of Sir Thomas Knyvett (1539-1618). Kynvett was the grandson of Sir Thomas Knyvett, Master of the Horse to Henry VIII. Sir Thomas the younger was knighted 1579/80 and was created the High Sheriff of Norfolk. Sir Thomas later married Muriel, the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, Treasurer of the Household to Queen Elizabeth.

While such a household was not considered Royal or even aristocratic, such close association with the monarch ensured that the family would want for nothing. Their position is evident in the quality of this seal with its enamelled gold case. An object such as this one would, most likely, have been a gift from the Royal Family—given for loyalty. 

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