What can it tell us?
Seals were used on most documents in the past, to close them and to prove that the document really was from the person who sent it. Most seals had a picture of the owner and a motto or legend around the edge. It would usually show the type of job the owner did and contain information about their family.
However, a Great Seal was special - it belonged to the monarch and all important business that the monarch did had a Great Seal attached. If a document had this seal on it, it had the monarch's 'seal of approval'; it contained the monarch's wishes or commands.
The Great Seal can reveal important clues about the way a monarch wished to be seen by their subjects and the responsibilities that they had. Elizabeth I wanted to create an image of herself that would impress her subjects. Will you be impressed?
- mysterious hands holding up Elizabeth's cape?
- a coat of arms?
- a Tudor Rose?
- the motto -'Elizabetha Dei Gracia Anglie Francie Et Hibernie Regina Fidei Defensor'?
1. Can you find:
Look at Source 1
- the orb and sceptre?
- a fleur de lys?
- a harp?
- a ruff?
- some clouds?
2. Can you find :
Look at Source 2
3. Looking at the images, which of the following words do you think Elizabeth would want people to associate with her:
Look at Source 1, 2 and 3
4. The Tudor Rose was the emblem of the Tudor monarchs. Why do you think it is on Elizabeth's seal?
5. A fleur-de-lys stands for France, and a Tudor Rose stands for England. Which country does the harp stand for?
6. Elizabeth was head of the Church of England. Which part of the seal tells us this?
7. What things make Elizabeth look important?
8. How can you tell that this seal belongs to a monarch?
- Who is the person in the photograph?
- How do you think this person creates an image of herself?
- Write a list of the different ways you can find out information about this person, then think about how you would have found out about Elizabeth I in her day. How do they compare?
- How difficult do you think it was for Elizabeth I to present herself to her subjects?
9. This is a picture taken at the Trooping of the Colour sometime between 1948 and 1950:
Look at Source 4
- The seal must tell us something about the person who it belongs to. What is their job? Where do they live? Are they important?
- Try to use emblems or symbols. If the seal belongs to a film star or an important scientist, how would you show this?
- You must also think of a motto to put on the seal.
- Remember to make a back and a front.
- Write about your seal, explaining what you have drawn - and why.