Seals, Matrices & Documents

Seals, Seal-Matrices & Documents

First published on our old website on *15 March 2012, with updates

Our research interests, while often centered upon manuscripts as such, have come officially to include documents, seals, and seal-matrices, as well as other archival materials.  Among them are the documents with seals in an anonymous private assemblage [described on our first website’s Page on Photographic Exhibitions [formerly via], for which the photographic work, for several years now, is generously allowed to be the full copyright of the photographer, Mildred Budny, with the possibility of use by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, which we prepare for publication privately.  The integration of our multiple areas of expertise permits us to expect substantial results following the close examination of these materials.

Seal of Philip I, Count of Savoy, with photography by Mildred Budny

Private Collection. Seal of Philip I, Count of Savoy. Photography by Mildred Budny.

Update: In 2014, we presented a seminar on these materials and their photography, along with a report of results of the research: “Show & Tell: Manuscripts & Their Photography”. Information about the displayed material and some other documents with seals appears in the The Illustrated Handlist.

Further Updates: Our blog on Manuscript Studies (2014–) includes occasional posts on documents, seals, and seal matrices, including most of the ones in The Illustrated Handlist. Starting with the post Curiouser and Curiouser, these posts include a series of posts on a group of Preston Charters (illustrated below) and documents of various dates.

For the 2020 International Congress on Medieval Studies of May 2020, the Research Group prepared a pair of Sessions to explore the presentation and attestation of documentary records in the medieval and early modern periods, in the long transition to the modern custom of signatures as autographs. Although the Congress as a whole had to be cancelled in March 2020, the aims of these Sessions and the Abstracts of their Papers are presented in our announcement of the planned Activities at the Congress: 2020 International Congress on Medieval Studies Program Announced.

These explorations lead also to the study of the history of signatures in the context of authentications and identifications of handwriting and other forms of written records.

The red wax seal seen upright, with the male human head facing left. Document on paper issued at Grenoble and dated 13 February 1345 (Old Style). Image reproduced by permission

Seal on a Document from Grenoble of 22 February 1345 (Old Style).

Links of Interest

We here prepare a list of links for professional research on documents, seals, sealing practices, and the methods of establishing the authority of texts in transmission.  Also relevant are projects examining the people, places, activities, and intentions mentioned in these sources.  Please contact us to let us know about more links that we should include.

Please see the list of Links for Seals, Seal-Matrices & Documents, with suggestions for further exploration.

  • SIGILLVM.  Network for Research – Seals and Sealing: History, Art, Preservation
  • People of Medieval Scotland (1093–1314), as named in more than 8600 documents over 221 years


Group of 8 Preston Charters: Front. Photograph Mildred Budny.

Group of 8 Preston Charters: Front. Photograph Mildred Budny.

Preston Charter 12 Seal Upright. Photograph Mildred Budn

Preston Charter 12 Seal Upright. Photograph Mildred Budny.


Do you have questions and suggestions for further links?  Please Contact Us.