Seal matrices

Seals dimensions

If the seal is for documents and deeds, it will have the object type as ‘Seal Matrix’. The seal matrix can be made of lead, copper alloy, or incorporate glass or gemstones.

You need to describe the shape of the seal matrix, usually either circular or pointed oval. They were mainly used from the 12th century onwards, and generally are Medieval in date although they can be later. There are many central motifs and legends, so just describe what you see. The matrix may be flat, or have a conical handle, a hexagonal handle, or a pierced/not pierced lug on the reverse.

There are also finger rings which have a seal matrix. These should be placed under the object type ‘Finger ring’ but describe the seal matrix as stated here. 

Example description

An incomplete pointed oval Medieval copper alloy seal matrix. The seal matrix has a hexagonal handle, which has a trefoil openwork terminal on top. The seal matrix has a legend around the edge that reads S’HENR[] (seal of Henry). In the centre is a depiction of a bird. The seal is in poor condition. It is likely to be from the 13th or 14th century.  

Example records