Lot 11
  • 11

English, circa 1280

6,000 - 8,000 GBP
16,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Silver Seal of Sibille de Gurnai
  • inscribed: + SIGILL : SIBILLE : D' : GVRNAI
  • silver, in a leather and silk-lined box
  • 39mm., 1½in.


Found in West Harptree, Somerset, early 19th century;
Daniel Gurney (1791-1880), Gourney Court, Somerset;
Sir E.G. Hippisley-Cox (1884-1954) upon purchase of Gourney Court in 1928;
thence by descent


D. Gurney, Record of the House of Gourney, 1848, vol. IV, p. 632-3, illustrated p. 632;
Collectanea Archaeologica: Communications Made to the British Archaeological Association, Vol. II, 1871, p. 210; W. de Gray Birch, Catalogue of Seals in the Department of Manuscripts of the British Museum, 1892, vol. II, p. 388, no. 6657

Catalogue Note

This important silver seal matrix is wrought with the image of a medieval lady with a falcon held by jesses attached to her wrist. Sibille de Gurnai, whose seal this was, was born in 1231, the daughter of Sir Hugh de Vivonne, Sheriff of Somerset. His wife Mabel Malet, daughter of William Malet, was one of the guarantors of the Magna Carta. Sibille married Anselm de Gournay of Beverstone and Harptree in 1250, bringing with her a dowry consisting of the manor of Crofton. An impression of the seal from the collection of Gray Birch in the Society of Antiquaries was donated to the British Museum in 2000 (inv. no. 2000,0103.210). Compare also another seal in the British Museum, dating to circa 1180-90, of Isabelle of Hainault, wife of Philip II (inv. no. 1970,0904,1). Identifiable medieval seals are exceptionally rare; the quality of the present example is superlative.

N. Netzer, Catalogue of Medieval Objects: Metalwork, cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1991, no. 28