The Rawlinson collection of seal matrices in the University of Oxford is the most important early collection of European seal matrices to survive. Created by Dr Richard Rawlinson (1690-1755) in the first half of the eighteenth century, it consists of 830 matrices ranging in date from the 13th to the early 18th century. It includes the collection of seal matrices formed by Giovanni Andrea Lorenzani, a Roman bronze caster, which Rawlinson acquired in Rome together with a catalogue written in 1708. This collection is primarily Italian, but the Rawlinson collection also includes examples from many other countries England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany Spain, and Scandinavia as well as Italy.
The study of seals was much neglected in the middle of the twentieth century, but the study now attracts greater interest. This is due to their visual appeal, sense of identity and their representation of symbols. This book will appeal to a wide variety of readers from those interested in collecting, Jacobitism, history of the early eighteenth century, the Grand Tour, antiquaries, and seals and seal matrices.
This book has four introductory chapters which set the scene for the collecting of seal matrices, tell the life of Richard Rawlinson and Giovanni Andrea Lorenzani, analyse their collections and relate the history of the collection after Rawlinson's death in 1755. One hundred seals, all illustrated, are described in detail, with much unpublished data, and an indication is given of the contribution they make to the sigillography of the different countries.
Foreword; Abbreviations; Seals and Seal Matrices; Dr Richard Rawlinson DCL; Giovanni Andrea Lorenzani; The Content of the Rawlinson Collection; From Bodleian to Ashmolean; Catalogue; Bibliography; Concordance.