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Home > Auctions > 22nd February 2022 > Large Medieval Mottisfont Augustinian Priory Seal Matrix

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LOT 0426

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,590 - 4,780
USD ($) 4,080 - 5,450

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£2,700 (EUR 3,228; USD 3,676) (+bp*)

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Large Medieval Mottisfont Augustinian Priory Seal Matrix

c.15th century AD

A complete copper-alloy vesica-shaped seal matrix, the centre depicting the Trinity under a canopy in the form of a robed and enthroned figure of God with a halo, shown holding up a shroud as background to the crucified Christ, who in turn has the dove of the Holy Spirit present above the left shoulder; beneath the Trinity and separated from the upper portion by a stone arch, a demi-figure of a praying cleric, probably representing the Prior or Abbot; the incuse legend, in black letter, reads 'sigillu officii prioris (p'or - etas?) Cce trinitat' de moteCfont' with contraction marks over the -u and the -ce and the 'C' is an orthographic variant of 's' with 'Cce' being an abbreviation for Sancte for 'seal of the [...] prior of (the priory) of the Holy Trinity of Mottisfont'; the reverse flat with a projecting vertical flange pierced for suspension; held in a hinged display box. 50.56 grams (180 grams with box), 62mm (2 1/2"). Very fine condition. Unique.

Found whilst searching with a metal detector near Lockerley, Hampshire, UK.
Accompanied by a copy of the Portable Antiquities Scheme report (PAS) number HAMP-CE0EE2.
Designated of county importance by the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.11127-185016.

See Portable Antiquities Scheme, reference HAMP-CE0EE2 (this seal).

See Tonnochy, A. B., Catalogue of Seal Dies in the British Museum, BM, 1952, for examples of similar monastic seals, with nos.805 and 877, depicting a very similar representation of the Trinity, therein dated to 15th century AD.

An Augustinian priory (the Priory of the Holy Trinity) was founded at Mottisfont, Hampshire in 1201 by William Briwere; it allegedly held as a relic a finger of John the Baptist and was an important Medieval pilgrimage destination; the priory was dissolved in 1536, under Henry VIII and the estate was passed to his Lord Chamberlain, Lord Sandys; the remains are preserved to the present day by the National Trust.

The black letter style of the legend on this matrix dates it to the latter part of the history of the priory, c.15th to early 16th century and this form of composition of the Trinity is directly paralleled iconographically in the contemporary 15th century "Throne of Mercy" type Nottingham alabaster Trinity panels and figurines; see examples in the Victoria & Albert Museum (reference 53-1946).