seal-impression / seal
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Oval bronze seal-matrix of the Royal African Company with moulded socket at back. A shield of arms, or, an elephant azure, on his back a quadrangular castle argent masoned proper; on the sinister tower a flagstaff and banner gules, on banner a cross, on the dexter corner of the escutcheon a canton quarterly of France and England. Crest, on a ducal coronet or an anchor erect sable, cabled of the first, between two dragons' wings expanded argent. Supporters, two African blacks proper vested round the waist with a skirt argent, banded round the temples or thereon feathers erect of various colours; each holding in his hand an arrow or barbed and feathered argent. Legend. Wax impression.
- Made in: England
- (Europe,British Isles,England)
- Length: 3.35 centimetres
Inscription ContentREGIO. FLORET. PATROCINIO. COMMERCIUM. COMMERCIOQUE. REGNUM
Inscription Translation"By Royal patronage trade flourishes, by trade the realm"or "Business is flourishing due to royal patronage and the kingdom is flourishing due to business" [see Pettigrew 2013 under Comment]
For the legend, established as the Company's motto in 1672, which made explicit the link between royal patronage and commercial prosperity, see W.Pettigrew, Freedom's Debt, The Royal African Company and the Politics of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1672-1752, Williamsburg Virginia 2013, p. 88. At the time of writing Pettigrew did not know of the seal-die's existence but has since pointed out that the seal-die is the legal expression of the Company. In his book he explains the thinking behind the new name and motto of the company as seen on this die in the context of international trade and empire.
Text from 'Catalogue of British Seal-Dies in the British Museum', A.B. Tonnochy, London 1952, cat. no. 159.
B.M. 'Cat. of Seals', no. 14721.
Cf. Add. MS. 6331, f. 1; Noorthouck, 'History of London', p. 888, pi. iii, London, 1773.
On display: G46/dc15
Transferred from the Department of Manuscripts.
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- 1838,XXXV.222 (MSS 1838 transfer list)
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Object reference number: MCN10886
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