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C1810 Wood Carnelian Desk Seal - Admiral The Honourable Sir Alexander COCHRANE

Seal Detail

A fine example of an English armorial desk seal, dating to c1810 and of turned wooden handle of flat top form tapering to a gilt or brass collar and mount, with rounded oval carnelian matrix, well engraved with armorial. 

The arms are those of the family of Admiral The Honourable Sir Alexander Forrester Cochrane.   The armorial bearings may be blazoned as follows:

Arms: Argent a chevron gules between three boar's heads erased azure langued of the second and as an honourable augmentation on a chief wavy of the third a sphinx couchant of the field differenced at fess point with a martlet.

Crests: Issuing out of a naval crown or a dexter arm embowed vested azure cuffed argent the hand holding a flagstaff proper thereon hoisted the flag of a Rear Admiral of the White being argent a cross gules and thereon the words "St Domingo" in letters of gold (a crest of augmentation)

(on the sinister): A horse passant or (for Cochcrane)

Motto: Virtute et labore (By valour and exertion)

These armorial bearings must date to 1808 or after when Sir Alexander was granted the augmentation of the sphinx and supporters to his arms with the added crest of augmentation.  Perhaps, he chose not to show his supporters upon the matrix of this seal? Sir Alexander (born 22nd April 1758 died 26 January 1832) was a younger son of Thomas Cochrane, the 8th Earl of Dundonald and his second wife, Grizel Cochrane, the second daughter of Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree in the County of Ayrshire.  He joined the Royal Navy as a boy and saw active service in British North America during the American War of Independence.  Sir Alexander participated in the Egyptian Campaign of 1801 and in the Eastern Mediterranean against the Spanish.  He held command on the Leeward Islands, Jamaica and North America Stations.  Whist on the Leeward Islands Station, he conducted operations against the French and Spanish on the 6th February 1806 at the Battle of San Domingo during the Napoleonic Wars for which he was granted his crest of augmentation.  When commanding both the North American and Jamaican Stations, he served during the War of 1812.  His last posting was the Commander in Chief of the Plymouth Command between 1821-24.  He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross (GCB) in the order's military Division on the 2nd January 1815 when the Order was remodelled as the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.  Sir Alexander also sat in the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for Stirling Burghs from 1800 to 1802, and from 1803 to 1806.

In 1788 he married a lady named Maria Shaw and they had three sons and two daughters.

Seal Specification

Height 90mm

Diameter of matrix  26mmx20mm 

Weight 40g