Call for papers: 4th international Round Table of seal conservators, Paris, 16 June 2016. Collections of seals: materials and storage

The 4th international Round Table of seal conservators will take place in Paris on 16 June 2016. It is being organised jointly by the Archives nationales and by Sigillvm, the international society for the study of seals. Offering opportunities for meeting and exchanging information with colleagues, the international Round Tables on seals are occasions for getting to know more about European collections of seals and for setting up co-operation between specialists.

The participants are invited to describe particular aspects of their work and their research on the conservation of seal collections (sealed documents; seal impressions; matrices; casts; copies; etc.). Often, little attention has been paid to the actual materials found in these seal collections: the various sorts of wax, lead, resin and the substances used in the past for making casts.

The meeting will be concerned particularly with what exactly is in these collections and what materials were used. Its aim will be to look at these materials, the changes they have undergone and how best to preserve them. Contributions may thus be on these materials and their storage as well as on practice of conservation.

Especially welcome will be contributions describing innovative work on particular problems of conservation: uncoloured seals, seals of metal, resin cachets, paper seals, the kinds of cloth used to attach the seal to the document, sealing in a box, early casts. The Round Table will be in two parts: In the first part the participants will each describe their work and will present a particular project.

The second part will be an important opportunity for debate and discussion on the problems encountered. The contributions will be published on line on the Sigillvm website. The meeting will be held in the Atelier de restauration et de moulage des sceaux of the Archives nationales in Paris.

You are invited to propose a contribution, in French or in English, to be submitted between 1 February and 1 May 2016 by e-mail to Agnès Prévost, who is in charge of the Atelier de restauration et de moulage des sceaux of the Archives nationales: agnes.prevost(at) As the number of participants has to be restricted your proposal will be assessed by a specialist committee and a reply will be sent to you by 15 May 2016.  

Members of the specialist committee: Paul D.A, Harvey, University  of Durham, UK. Michel Thibaut, Conservateur général, in charge of the Département de la conservation in the Archives nationales. Marie-Adélaïde Nielen, Conservateur en chef in the  Département du Moyen Âge et de l’ancien régime. Agnès Prévost, Chef de travaux d’art, in charge of the Atelier de restauration et moulage des sceaux.

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The Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms is the leading scholarly English-language journal on heraldry and related topics, and seeks to publish a wide array of well-written original research and informed, innovative comment, especially on the relationship between heraldry and the following areas, in any relevant period or part of the world:

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Polynomial Textual Mapping (PTM) of Seal Impressions

A blog post by Adrian Ailes of The National Archives, London, which discusses recent developments in Polynomial Textual Mapping (PTM) for imaging seal designs.

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The National Archives (UK) Seal Guide Online

A new online guide to using for researching seals from the medieval and early modern periods provided by The National Archives, London.

The guide helps users to locate over 3,000 digitised images of 2,500 seals from the 12th to the 18th centuries.



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New British Academy research project

The British Academy has awarded funding to Professor Phillipp Schofield, Aberystwyth University, for Seals in a Local Context (SiLC). This builds on the work already undertaken by the Seals in Medieval Wales project, and will further our understanding of regional variations in sealing practices within medieval Britain. Other members of the project team are Dr John McEwan (researcher) and Dr Elizabeth New (advisor).

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