Collection online

seal-impression / seal

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    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.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1662
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 3.35 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • 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]
  • Curator's comments

    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.


  • Bibliography

    • Tonnochy 1952 159 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G46/dc15

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Transferred from the Department of Manuscripts.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 1838,1232.88
    • 1838,XXXV.222 (MSS 1838 transfer list)
Seal-matrix; Royal African Company; bronze; oval; moulded socket at back; shield of arms; crest; two African supporters; legend; wax impression.

Seal-matrix; Royal African Company; bronze; oval; moulded socket at back; shield of arms; crest; two African supporters; legend; wax impression.

Image description



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Object reference number: MCN10886

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