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Seal of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick (E 329/422)
Seal of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick (E 329/422)

This workshop introduces pupils to some of the amazing ancient wax seals in our collection. The aim of the workshop is to give pupils an understanding of how seals were made, how and why they were used, and what the images used on them mean.

For the first activity, we look at royal seals from the time of Edward the Confessor up to the present day. Pupils identify different elements of the designs and compare how they have changed and developed over the last thousand years. Pupils also have a close look at some of the seals belonging to Tudor kings and queens to see what particular impression each one tried to create about themselves on their seal.

For the second activity, we look at personal seals that belonged to barons, knights, ladies, craftsmen, religious houses and ordinary people in medieval and Tudor times. Pupils work out why each person chose the design they did for their seal, and discuss how this can help us understand people in the past. Finally, pupils get to try designing their own seal on paper using the knowledge and ideas they have gained during the workshop to create images that are appropriate to their life and interests.

Session options

This session can be delivered as a

  • Workshop
  • Videoconference
  • Virtual classroom

Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202

Email: education@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Available: All year

Cost: Free

Duration: 2 hours

Age: Years 5-6

QCA link: Art and Design Unit 1A: self portrait. Unit 9: visiting a museum, gallery or site