I was honored to be granted permission to create a wax seal charm with the official wax seal of colonial Newport, RI
which was used for official business back in 1729. I must admit, despite working with my own collection of antique wax seals,
some that date back to Medieval times, it was a little nerve wracking,
wearing gloves and casting the seal that normally finds its home safely under glass
at the Newport Historical Society Museum and Gift Shop in Newport, RI.
The wax seal itself is a large desk seal, with an old glue affixing the bronze matrix to the turned wood handle,
but because of its age the glue was not so secure and the matrix a bit wobbly.
I was not going to be the one to separate the two!
I’ve never worked with such a large wax seal and it was very challenging to get a clear impression, especially because the engraving itself was not deep or well defined. After several (many) attempts I went home with a beautiful impression and after working my jewelers magic,
I am pleased to present the colonial Newport wax seal charm:
COUNCEL SEAL OF NEWPORT RHOADE ISLAND
Hand cast from a large oval wax seal,
a sheep passant, with its long tail, chosen because of the
importance of the sheep raising industry in colonial Newport.
The sheep is surrounded by the legend
COUNCEL SEAL OF NEWPORT RHOADE ISLAND.
Note that the N’s and one S are backwards.
The seal was used by William Coddington, Council Clerk of Newport,
on an order of the Town Council dating September 18, 1729.
The Colonial Newport, RI wax seal charm measures approximately 1 1/4” by 1 1/2” and it is currently available in sterling silver
and will soon be available in bronze, exclusively at:
The Newport Historical Society Museum and Gift Shop at Brick Market
located at 127 Thames Street
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
I presume that William Coddington, Council Clerk of Newport, was the grandson of William Coddington,
Governor for Life in Rhode Island, who traveled away from Massachusetts with Anne Hutchinson and John Clark
and went on to establish Newport, RI. William Sr died in 1678 and William Jr in 1685.
William Coddington, the third, (1680 ~ 1755), grandson to the RI Governor, was very active in Colonial affairs and a RI statesman
and a wealthy influential merchant. From 1705 to 1706 he worked as a sheriff in Newport, RI.
He later worked as a Lt. Colonel of the regiment of militia from 1719 to 1729.
Then, from 1722 to 1726, he served as assistant speaker in the House of Deputies and as a justice of the court in the Court of Common Pleas.
He was married to (second marriage) Content Arnold, daughter of Benedict Arnold, and granddaughter of Governor Benedict Arnold.
I’ve found a wonderful blog site, loaded with fascinating historical information here:
William & Mary Barret Dyer
A must read for the history buff!