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Jane Skipwith's Seal

Used to close the outside of a folded letter or to authenticate a legal document, seals were highly personalized, often containing the initials of the sender or the family crest or shield of arms.


Each of Jane Skipwith's love letters to her cousin, Lewes Bagot, is lovingly folded into a tiny packet and closed with a red wax seal of a turnpike, or turnstile, the Skipwith family crest. The seal was placed over embroidery floss. The floss would have to be cut before Bagot could unfold and read the contents of the letter.

Jane Skipwith. Letter to Lewis Bagot. Manuscript, 14 April 1610? (Detail)

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