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The Collation

A letter from Queen Anne to Buckingham locked with silk embroidery floss

crocodile.2013 01

No, it’s not Lady Gaga’s hairline or the frizz on one of those creepy troll dolls. 1 Last week’s crocodile mystery is in fact a close up of silk embroidery floss that had been tightly wrapped around a folded letter, with seals placed over the floss on the front and back of the packet to secure it. When the floss was cut to open the letter, the floss frayed, and the seals remained intact. 

  1. These were not real guesses from our readers, but the musings of Collation editorial staff when faced with an absence of comments to our previous post.
  2. Thank you to Anna Bertolet for pointing me to this reference. For more information on silk-flossed letters, see my essay, “‘Neatly sealed, with silk, and Spanish wax or otherwise’: the practice of letter-locking with silk floss in early modern England,” in In the prayse of writing, ed. S.P. Cerasano and Steven W. May (London: The British Library, 2012).


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