Circa 1840 Hardstone, Gold and Quadruple Headed Rotating Desk Seal

Seal Detail

An English hardstone, gold and four hardstone matrices desk seal dating to the end of the 19th century; the handle of carved bloodstone of flat top and squared tapering stem form to a serrated edged gold collar and mounting frame, hinged to a drum with four matrices of different hardstones and shapes.  One, of carnelian stone is engraved with the marital arms of Farrer and Jones with secondary crest of Farrer.  The engraved arms date to after 1834 and are those of the family of Farrer with an escutcheon of pretence (with numerous quarterings) for the family of Jones.  These bearings undoubtedly commemorate the marriage of William Frederick Farrer (born 9th January 1810 died 21st April 1872) of Brafield House. near Olney in the County of Buckinghamshire and Fanny Richarda Jones (born 1814 died 25th July 1879).  William served as both a Deputy Lieutenant and a Justice of the Peace for the County of Buckinghamshire as well as serving as the County's High Sheriff for the year 1856.

One of the other matrices shows the crest and motto together with initials: FF

Motto reads: QUOD HONESTUM UTILE (What is honest and useful)

Given the use of the initials "FF", it is supposed that a blank table side has been utilised by a later member of the family.  From an examination of a printed family pedigree, it would seem that this would have been William's youngest brother.  The Reverend Frederick Farrer(born 29th September 1826 died 15th November 1908), of Brayfield House.  Frederick inherited the House upon the death of his elder brother, George Denis Farrer on the 20th March 1901.  Therefore, this seal must have been inherited by Frederick sometime after William's death or at the time when he come into the family estate of Brayfield House in 1901.

There are two other engraved matrices, one bearing the cypher "FRPF", undoubtedly refers to Fanny (or Frances) Richarda Parry Farrer, William's wife, whilst the fourth matrix reads "Brafield" an incorrect spelling of "Brayfield", the Farrer's family estate.

 Seal Specification

Height 68mm

Diameter of matrix (typically)  10mmx11mm 

Weight 23g