c1850 Earl Marshal of England Desk Wax Seal - Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk

Seal Detail

A most impressive 19th century wood, brass and copper desk seal, the handle of fine turned walnut of flat top baluster form, tapering to a banded stem and terminating at a brass collar and hexagonal copper matrix, well engraved with the arms, motto and title of Earl Marshal of England for Henry, Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk, the motto reading:

SOLA VIRTUS INVICTA (Virtue alone is invincible) 

Fitzalan-Howard, Henry, 15th Duke of Norfolk (1847 -1917)

Henry Fitzalan-Howard was the eldest son of Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 14th Duke of Norfolk, and Augusta Mary Minna Catherine, younger daughter of Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons. He was educated at The Oratory School. In 1860 on the death of his father, he succeeded as 15th Duke of Norfolk, and to the attendant hereditary office of Earl Marshal. In 1895 he was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Postmaster General by Lord Salisbury, a post he held until 1900. In July 1897 he was appointed the first Lord Mayor of Sheffield, in which he remained until November of the same year. In 1900, at age 53, he took part in the Boer War. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1886, and was Lord Lieutenant of Sussex between 1905 and 1917. In his dual role as Premier Duke and most prominent Roman Catholic in England, he undertook a programme of philanthropy which served in part to reintegrate Roman Catholics into civic life. From his ancestral seat of Arundel Castle he sponsored the construction of the Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri between 1868 and 1873. In 1965 this church was chosen to serve as Arundel Cathedral. In 1877, he married Lady Flora Hastings, daughter of the Charles Abney-Hastings, 1st Baron Donington and Edith Rawdon-Hastings, 10th Countess of Loudoun. To commemorate this occasion, he undertook construction of a church in his titular ancestral seat in Norwich. Completed in 1910, the church was chosen to serve as St John the Baptist Cathedral, Norwich, when the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia was re-established in 1976. The marriage produced one son. Twenty years after Lady Flora's death in April 1887, the Duke married his cousin, thirty years his junior, the Hon. Gwendolen Constable-Maxwell, eldest daughter of Marmaduke Constable-Maxwell, 11th Lord Herries of Terregles, and the Hon. Angela Mary Charlotte, daughter of Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Glossop. They had four children. The 15th Duke also donated funds for the building of the University of Sheffield and was its first Chancellor between 1905 and 1917. He also contributed funds to the construction of major Roman Catholic churches in Canada.

The sela is presented in excellent condition commensurate with its age.

Provenance: Roseberry's, Quarterly Select Auction, 11 March 2008

Seal Specification

Height 110mm

Diameter of matrix  27mmx23mm 

Weight 118g