Seal impression (cast), of Alexander II

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Postcard of Seal impression (cast), of Alexander II.
© National Museums Scotland

Seal impression (cast), of Alexander II

This is a 19th century sulphur cast of a seal impression. The impression was made from the reverse of the Great Seal of Alexander II dating from around 1214. Great Seals were used primarily for grants of land.

The seal depicts the king as a knight on horseback. The design is similar to seals of previous monarchs, but his armour reflects the contemporary fashion. The king wears a flat-topped helmet with visor, and long flowing coat over a hauberk of mail. His shield has a lion rampant on it, the first use of heraldic symbols on seals. The legend '+ ALEXANDER DEO RECTORE..EX SCOTTORVM' translates as 'Alexander with God as guide, King of the Scots'. The gold border is modern cardboard trim.

Seals were usually made of beeswax, softened by heat and attached to a document. A mould or matrix was used to make the impression in soft wax.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-727-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.1999.733
Date: c. 1214
Date of cast: 19th century; Date of seal: Around 1214
Material: Sulphur; red; circular. Inscription: + ALEXANDER DEO RECTORE..EX SCOTTORVM
Dimensions: 93 mm D
What: Seal / cast
Who: Alexander II
Young Collection
Description: Red sulphur cast of the reverse of the Great Seal of Alexander II, depicting the king as a knight on horseback, c. 1214
  • Birch, Walter de Gray. History of Scottish Seals from the eleventh to the seventeenth century..., vol. I. The Royal Seals of Scotland. Stirling and London: Eneas MacKay and T. Fisher Unwin, 1905, pp 24-5. 
  • Stevenson and Wood, i, p.4 no.13 
  • Stevenson, J.H. and Wood, M. Scottish Heraldic Seals - Royal, Official, Ecclesiastical, Collegiate, Burghal, Personal, vol i. Glasgow, 1940, p 4 no. 13. 
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