A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Goldsmiths have made silverware, goblets and serviceable utensils, ceremonial or religious items, using Kintsugi, but the rising prices of precious metals have curtailed the making of such items to a large degree. Goldsmiths must be skilled in forming metal through filing, sawing, forging and polishing metal; the trade has often included jewellery-making skills, as well as the similar skills of the silversmith. Traditionally, these skills had been passed along through apprenticeships, more jewellery arts schools specializing in teaching goldsmithing and a multitude of skills falling under the jewellery arts umbrella are available. Many universities and junior colleges offer goldsmithing and metal arts fabrication as a part of their fine arts curriculum. At least in Europe, goldsmiths performed many of the functions now regarded as part of banking providing custody of valuable items and currency exchange, though they were restrained from lending at interest, regarded as usury.
Compared to other metals, gold is malleable, rare, it is the only solid metallic element with a yellow color. It may be melted and cast without the problems of oxides and gas that are problematic with other metals such as bronzes, for example, it is easy to "pressure weld", wherein to clay two small pieces may be pounded together to make one larger piece. Gold is classified as a noble metal --, it is found in its native form, lasting indefinitely without oxidization and tarnishing. Gold has been worked by humans in all cultures where the metal is available, either indigenously or imported, the history of these activities is extensive. Superbly made objects from the ancient cultures of Africa, Europe, North America and South America grace museums and collections throughout the world; some pieces date back thousands of years and were made using many techniques that still are used by modern goldsmiths. Techniques developed by some of those goldsmiths achieved a skill level, lost and remained beyond the skills of those who followed to modern times.
Researchers attempting to uncover the chemical techniques used by ancient artisans have remarked that their findings confirm that "the high level of competence reached by the artists and craftsmen of these ancient periods who produced objects of an artistic quality that could not be bettered in ancient times and has not yet been reached in modern ones."In medieval Europe goldsmiths were organized into guilds and were one of the most important and wealthiest of the guilds in a city. The guild kept records of the marks they used on their products; these records, when they survive, are useful to historians. Goldsmiths acted as bankers, since they dealt in gold and had sufficient security for the safe storage of valuable items. In the Middle Ages, goldsmithing included silversmithing as well, but the brass workers and workers in other base metals were members of a separate guild, since the trades were not allowed to overlap. Many jewelers were goldsmiths; the Sunar caste is one of the oldest communities in goldsmithing in India, whose superb gold artworks were displayed at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.
In India,'Vishwakarma' are the goldsmith caste. The printmaking technique of engraving developed among goldsmiths in Germany around 1430, who had long used the technique on their metal pieces; the notable engravers of the fifteenth century were either goldsmiths, such as Master E. S. or the sons of goldsmiths, such as Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer. A goldsmith might have a wide array of skills and knowledge at their disposal. Gold, being the most malleable metal of all, offers unique opportunities for the worker. In today's world a wide variety of other metals platinum alloys may be used frequently. 24 karat is pure gold and was known as fine gold. Because it is so soft, however, 24 karat gold is used, it is alloyed to make it stronger and to create different colors. The gold may be cast into some item usually with the lost wax casting process, or it may be used to fabricate the work directly in metal. In the latter case, the goldsmith will use a variety of tools and machinery, including the rolling mill, the drawplate, swage blocks and other forming tools to make the metal into shapes needed to build the intended piece.
Parts are fabricated through a wide variety of processes and assembled by soldering. It is a testament to the history and evolution of the trade that those skills have reached an high level of attainment and skill over time. A fine goldsmith can and will work to a tolerance approaching that of precision machinery, but using only his eyes and hand tools. Quite the goldsmith's job involves the making of mountings for gemstones, in which case they are referred to as jewelers.'Jeweller', however, is a term reserved for a person who deals in jewellery and not to be confused with a goldsmith, gemologist, diamond cutter, diamond setters. A'jobbing jeweller' is the term for a jeweller who undertakes a small basic amount of jewellery repair and alteration. Paul de Lamerie Paul Storr Lorenzo Ghiberti Benvenuto Cellini Johannes Gutenberg House of Fabergé Jean-Valentin Morel Adrien Vachette Gaspard van der Heyden Jocelyn Burton Lois Etherington Betteridge Andrea Cagnetti - Akelo William Claude Harper Mary Lee Hu Linda M
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training and marketing services. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. OCLC provides bibliographic and full-text information to anyone. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest online public access catalog in the world. WorldCat has holding records from private libraries worldwide; the Open WorldCat program, launched in late 2003, exposed a subset of WorldCat records to Web users via popular Internet search and bookselling sites.
In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project, WikiD, allowing readers to add commentary and structured-field information associated with any WorldCat record. WikiD was phased out; the Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. A browser for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; until August 2009, when it was sold to Backstage Library Works, OCLC owned a preservation microfilm and digitization operation called the OCLC Preservation Service Center, with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The reference management service QuestionPoint provides libraries with tools to communicate with users; this around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries. Starting in 1971, OCLC produced catalog cards for members alongside its shared online catalog. OCLC commercially sells software, such as CONTENTdm for managing digital collections.
It offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, database subscriptions and more. OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications; these publications, including journal articles, reports and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, National Education Association Newsletter; the most recent publications are displayed first, all archived resources, starting in 1970, are available. Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding. Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
Presentations – Presentations from both guest speakers and OCLC research from conferences and other events. The presentations are organized into five categories: Conference presentations, Dewey presentations, Distinguished Seminar Series, Guest presentations, Research staff
The Biografisch Portaal is an initiative based at the Huygens Institute for Dutch History in The Hague, with the aim of making biographical texts of the Netherlands more accessible. The project was started in February 2010 with material for 40,000 digitized biographies, with the goal to grant digital access to all reliable information about people of the Netherlands from the earliest beginnings of history up to modern times; the Netherlands as a geographic term includes former colonies, the term "people" refers both to people born in the Netherlands and its former colonies, to people born elsewhere but active in the Netherlands and its former colonies. As of 2011, only biographical information about deceased people is included; the system used is based on the standards of the Text Encoding Initiative. Access to the Biografisch Portaal is available free through a web-based interface; the project is a cooperative undertaking by ten scientific and cultural bodies in the Netherlands with the Huygens Institute as main contact.
The other bodies are: The Biografie Instituut The Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie The Digital Library for Dutch Literature Data Archiving and Networked Services The International Institute of Social History The Onderzoekscentrum voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur, The Parlementair Documentatie Centrum The Netherlands Institute for Art History Besides ongoing digital projects, Dutch biographical dictionaries published in book form that have been digitized and incorporated into the indexes of the Biografisch Portaal are: The work of Abraham van der Aa, the first Dutch biographical dictionary The BWN, or Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland The NNBW, or Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek The work of Johan Engelbert Elias on the Amsterdam regency known as Vroedschap van Amsterdam The work of Barend Glasius known as Godgeleerd Nederland The work of Roeland van Eynden and Adriaan van der Willigen, known as Geschiedenis der vaderlandsche schilderkunst The work of Jan van Gool known as Nieuwe Schouburg The work of Jacob Campo Weyerman known as The Lives of Dutch painters and paintresses The BLNP, or Biografisch lexicon voor de geschiedenis van het Nederlands protestantismeAs of November 2012 the Biografisch Portaal contained 80,206 persons in 125,592 biographies.
In February 2012, a new project was started called "BiographyNed" to build an analytical tool for use with the Biografisch Portaal that will link biographies to events in time and space. The main goal of the three-year project is to formulate ‘the boundaries of the Netherlands’. List of Dutch people Official website
Though women artists have been involved in the making of art throughout history, their work, when compared to that of their male counterparts, is both overlooked and undervalued. Prevailing stereotypes about the sexes have caused certain media, such as textile or fiber arts, to be associated with women, despite having once been categories both men and women participated in. Additionally, art forms that have gained this distinction are, as in the case of both textile and fabric arts, demoted to categories like "arts and crafts", rather than fine art. Women in art have been faced with challenges due to gender biases in the mainstream fine art world, they have encountered difficulties in training and trading their work, as well as gaining recognition. Beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s, feminist artists and art historians created a Feminist art movement that overtly addresses the role of women in the art world and explores the role of women in art history and in society. There are no records of who the artists of the prehistoric eras were, but studies of many early ethnographers and cultural anthropologists indicate that women were the principal artisans in Neolithic cultures, in which they created pottery, baskets, painted surfaces and jewelry.
Collaboration on large projects was typical. Extrapolation to the artwork and skills of the Paleolithic era suggests that these cultures followed similar patterns. Cave paintings of this era have human hand prints, 75% of which are identifiable as women's. "For about three thousand years, the women – and only the women – of Mithila have been making devotional paintings of the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. It is no exaggeration to say that this art is the expression of the most genuine aspect of Indian civilization." The earliest records of western cultures mention specific individuals, although women are depicted in all of the art and some are shown laboring as artists. Ancient references by Homer and Virgil mention the prominent roles of women in textiles, poetry and other cultural activities, without discussion of individual artists. Among the earliest European historical records concerning individual artists is that of Pliny the Elder, who wrote about a number of Greek women who were painters, including Helena of Egypt, daughter of Timon of Egypt, Some modern critics posit that Alexander Mosaic might not have been the work of Philoxenus, but of Helena of Egypt.
One of the few named women painters who might have worked in Ancient Greece, she was reputed to have produced a painting of the battle of Issus which hung in the Temple of Peace during the time of Vespasian. Other women include Timarete, Kalypso, Aristarete and Olympias. While only some of their work survives, in Ancient Greek pottery there is a caputi hydria in the Torno Collection in Milan, it is attribute to the Leningrad painter from c. 460–450 BCE and shows women working alongside men in a workshop where both painted vases. Artists from the Medieval period include Claricia, Ende, Herrade of Landsberg and Hildegard of Bingen. In the early Medieval period, women worked alongside men. Manuscript illuminations and carved capitals from the period demonstrate examples of women at work in these arts. Documents show that they were brewers, wool merchants, iron mongers. Artists of the time period, including women, were from a small subset of society whose status allowed them freedom from these more strenuous types of work.
Women artists were of two literate classes, either wealthy aristocratic women or nuns. Women in the former category created embroideries and textiles. There were a number of embroidery workshops in England at the time at Canterbury and Winchester, it is presumed that women were entirely responsible for this production. One of the most famous embroideries of the Medieval period is the Bayeux Tapestry, embroidered with wool and is 230 feet long, its images narrate the Norman Conquest of England. The Bayeux Tapestry may have been created in either a commercial workshop by a royal or an aristocratic lady and her retinue, or in a workshop in a nunnery. In the 14th century, a royal workshop is documented, based at the Tower of London, there may have been other earlier arrangements. Manuscript illumination affords us many of the named artists of the Medieval Period including Ende, a 10th-century Spanish nun; these women, many more unnamed illuminators, benefited from the nature of convents as the major loci of learning for women in the period and the most tenable option for intellectuals among them.
In many parts of Europe, with the Gregorian Reforms of the 11th century and the rise in feudalism, women faced many strictures that they did not face in the Early Medieval period. With these societal changes, the status of the convent changed. In the British Isles, the Norman Conquest marked the beginning of the gradual decline of the convent as a seat of learning and a place where women could gain power. Convents were made subsidiary to male abbots, rather than being headed by an abbess, as they had been previously. In Pagan Scandinavia the only confirmed female runemaster, worked in the 11th century. In Germany, under the Ottonian Dynasty, convents retained their position as institutions of learning; this might be because convents were headed and populated by unmarried women from royal
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented with such decoration as initials and miniature illustrations. In the strictest definition, the term refers only to manuscripts decorated with either gold or silver. Comparable Far Eastern and Mesoamerican works are described as painted. Islamic manuscripts may be referred to as illuminated, illustrated or painted, though using the same techniques as Western works; the earliest extant substantive illuminated manuscripts are from the period 400 to 600, produced in the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire. Their significance lies not only in their inherent artistic and historical value, but in the maintenance of a link of literacy offered by non-illuminated texts. Had it not been for the monastic scribes of Late Antiquity, most literature of Greece and Rome would have perished; as it was, the patterns of textual survivals were shaped by their usefulness to the constricted literate group of Christians. Illumination of manuscripts, as a way of aggrandizing ancient documents, aided their preservation and informative value in an era when new ruling classes were no longer literate, at least in the language used in the manuscripts.
The majority of extant manuscripts are from the Middle Ages, although many survive from the Renaissance, along with a limited number from Late Antiquity. The majority are of a religious nature. From the 13th century onward, an increasing number of secular texts were illuminated. Most illuminated manuscripts were created as codices. A few illuminated fragments survive on papyrus, which does not last nearly as long as parchment. Most medieval manuscripts, illuminated or not, were written on parchment, but most manuscripts important enough to illuminate were written on the best quality of parchment, called vellum. Beginning in the Late Middle Ages, manuscripts began to be produced on paper. Early printed books were sometimes produced with spaces left for rubrics and miniatures, or were given illuminated initials, or decorations in the margin, but the introduction of printing led to the decline of illumination. Illuminated manuscripts continued to be produced in the early 16th century but in much smaller numbers for the wealthy.
They are among the most common items to survive from the Middle Ages. They are the best surviving specimens of medieval painting, the best preserved. Indeed, for many areas and time periods, they are the only surviving examples of painting. Art historians classify illuminated manuscripts into their historic periods and types, including Late Antique, Carolingian manuscripts, Ottonian manuscripts, Romanesque manuscripts, Gothic manuscripts, Renaissance manuscripts. There are a few examples from periods; the type of book most heavily and richly illuminated, sometimes known as a "display book", varied between periods. In the first millennium, these were most to be Gospel Books, such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells; the Romanesque period saw the creation of many large illuminated complete Bibles – one in Sweden requires three librarians to lift it. Many Psalters were heavily illuminated in both this and the Gothic period. Single cards or posters of vellum, leather or paper were in wider circulation with short stories or legends on them about the lives of saints, chivalry knights or other mythological figures criminal, social or miraculous occurrences.
The Book of Hours commonly the personal devotional book of a wealthy layperson, was richly illuminated in the Gothic period. Other books, both liturgical and not, continued to be illuminated at all periods; the Byzantine world produced manuscripts in its own style, versions of which spread to other Orthodox and Eastern Christian areas. The Muslim World and in particular the Iberian Peninsula, with their traditions of literacy uninterrupted by the Middle Ages, were instrumental in delivering ancient classic works to the growing intellectual circles and universities of Western Europe all through the 12th century, as books were produced there in large numbers and on paper for the first time in Europe, with them full treatises on the sciences astrology and medicine where illumination was required to have profuse and accurate representations with the text; the Gothic period, which saw an increase in the production of these artifacts saw more secular works such as chronicles and works of literature illuminated.
Wealthy people began to build up personal libraries. Up to the 12th century, most manuscripts were produced in monasteries in order to add to the library or after receiving a commission from a wealthy patron. Larger monasteries contained separate areas for the monks who specialized in the production of manuscripts called a scriptorium. Within the walls of a scriptorium were individualized areas where a monk could sit and work on a manuscript without being disturbed by his fellow brethren. If no scriptorium was available “separate little rooms were assigned to book copying.
Linda Nochlin was an American art historian, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor Emerita of Modern Art at New York University Institute of Fine Arts, writer. A prominent feminist art historian, she became well known for her pioneering 1971 article "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?". Linda Natalie Weinberg was born the daughter of Jules Weinberg and Elka Heller in Brooklyn, New York and raised in the borough's Crown Heights neighborhood, she attended a progressive grammar school. She received her B. A. in Philosophy from Vassar College in 1951, her M. A. in English from Columbia University in 1952, her Ph. D in the history of art from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1963. After working in the art history departments at Yale University, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Vassar College, Nochlin took a position at the Institute of Fine Arts, where she taught until retiring in 2013. In 2000, Self and History: A Tribute to Linda Nochlin was published, an anthology of essays developing themes that Nochlin worked on throughout her career.
Her critical attention was drawn to investigating the ways in which gender affects the creation and apprehension of art, as evidenced by her 1994 essay "Issues of Gender in Cassatt and Eakins". Besides feminist art history, she was best known for her work on Realism on Gustave Courbet. Complementing her career as an academic, she served on the Art Advisory Council of the International Foundation for Art Research. Nochlin was the co-curator of a number of landmark exhibitions exploring the history and achievements of female artists. 2007 — "Global Feminisms" at the Brooklyn Museum. 1976 — "Women Artists: 1550-1950" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 1971, ArtNews published Nochlin's essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" in which she explored assumptions embedded in the title's question. She considered the nature of art along with the reasons why the notion of artistic genius has been reserved for male geniuses such as Michelangelo. Nochlin argued that significant societal barriers have prevented women from pursuing art, including restrictions on educating women in art academies and "the entire romantic, individual-glorifying, monograph-producing substructure upon which the profession of art history is based ".
The thirty-year anniversary of Nochlin's ground-breaking inquiry informed a conference at Princeton University in 2001. The book associated with the conference, "Women artists at the Millennium", includes Nochlin's essay ""Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" Thirty Years After". In the conference and in the book, art historians addressed the innovative work of such figures as Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Francesca Woodman, Carrie Mae Weems and Mona Hatoum in the light of the legacies of thirty years of feminist art history. In her 1994 essay "Starting from Scratch: The Beginnings of Feminist Art History," Nochlin reflected on her awakening as a feminist and its impact on her scholarship and teaching: "In 1969, three major events occurred in my life: I had a baby, I became a feminist, I organized the first class in Women and Art at Vassar College."Nochlin deconstructed art history by identifying and questioning methodological presuppositions. She was an advocate for "art historians who investigate the work before their eyes while focusing on its subject matter, informed by a sensitivity to its feminist spirit."
Following Edward Said's influential 1978 book, Nochlin was one of the first art historians to apply theories of Orientalism to the study of art history in her 1983 paper, "The Imaginary Orient." Her key assertion was that Orientalism must be seen from the point-of-view of'the particular power structure in which these works came into being," in this case, 19th century French colonialism. Nochlin focused on the 19th century French artists Jean-Leon Gérôme and Eugène Delacroix, who both depicted'orientalist' themes in their work, including The Snake Charmer and The Death of Sardanapalus. In Gérôme's "The Snake Charmer," from the late 1860s, Nochlin described how Gérôme created a sense of verisimilitude not only in his rendering of the scene with such realistic precision one forgets a painter painted it, but in capturing the most minute details, such as meticulously painted tiles; as a result, the painting appears to be documentary evidence of life in the Ottoman court while, according to Nochlin, it is in fact a Westerner's vision of a mysterious world.
In Delacroix's "The Death of Sardanapalus" from 1827, Nochlin argued that the artist used Orientalism to explore overt erotic and violent themes that may not reflect France's cultural hegemony but rather the chauvinism and misogyny of early 19th century French society. Nochlin married twice. First, in 1953 she married Philip H. Nochlin, an assistant professor of Philosophy at Vassar, who died seven years later, she married Richard Pommer, an architectural historian, in 1968. Nochlin had two daughters: Jessica, with Philip Nochlin, Daisy, with Richard Pommer, depicted with Nochlin by the artist Alice Neel in 1973. Linda Nochlin died at age 86 on October 29, 2017. 1967: Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize for the best article published in The Art Bulletin 1978: Frank Jewett Mather Prize for Critical Writing, The College Art Association 1977: Woman of the Year, Mademoiselle magazine 1984-1985: Guggenheim Fellowship 1985: Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study 2003: Honorary Doctorate, Harvard University 2006: Visionary Woman Award, Moore College of Art & Design Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, New York University's Institute for the H
Great Seal of the Realm
The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a seal, used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of important state documents. Scotland has had her own great seal since the 14th century; the Acts of Union 1707, joining the kingdoms of Scotland and England, provide for the use of a single Great Seal for the united kingdoms. However, it provides for the continued use of a separate Scottish seal to be used there; the Welsh Seal was introduced in 2011. Sealing wax is melted in a metal mould or matrix and impressed into a wax figure, attached by cord or ribbon to documents that the Monarch wishes to make official; the formal keeper of the seal is the Lord High Chancellor. Edward the Confessor sometime before A. D. 1066 started using a "Great Seal" casting in wax of his own visage to signify that a document carried the force of his will. With some exceptions, each subsequent monarch up to 1603 and the Union of the Crowns which united the crowns of Scotland and England has chosen his or her own design for the Great Seal.
When opening Parliament, on 3 September 1654, the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell was escorted by the three "Commissioners of the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of England", who were Whitelock and Widdrington. This Seal was inscribed with'The Great Seal of England, 1648', displaying the map of England, Ireland and Guernsey on one side, with the Arms of England and Ireland. On the other side was shown the interior of the House of Commons, the Speaker in the chair, with the inscription,'In the first year of Freedom, by God's blessing restored, 1648.' In 1655, Cromwell appointed three Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland, Richard Pepys, Chief Justice of the Upper Bench, Sir Gerard Lowther, Chief Justice of the Common Bench. But they held the seal only until 1656, when Cromwell nominated William Steele, Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer in England, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. In 1688, while attempting to flee to France, James II destroyed his Great Seal by throwing it into the River Thames in the hope that the machinery of government would cease to function.
James's successors, William III and Mary II, used the same seal matrix in their new Great Seal. This may have been a deliberate choice. A new obverse was created, but the reverse was crudely adapted by inserting a female figure beside the male figure; when Mary died, the obverse returned to the design used by James II, while the female figure was deleted from the reverse. Thus, William III used a seal, identical to James II's, except for changes to the lettering and coat of arms. Edward VIII, who abdicated in order to marry Wallis Simpson only a few months after succeeding to the throne, never selected a design for his own seal and continued to use that of his predecessor, George V; the longer-lived British monarchs have had several Great Seals during their reigns. Only one matrix of the Great Seal exists at a time, since the wax used for the Great Seal has a high melting point, the silver plates that cast the Seal wear out. Queen Victoria had to select four different Great Seal designs during the sixty-three years of her reign.
The current seal matrix was authorised by the Privy Council in July 2001. It was replaced that of 1953, designed by Gilbert Ledward; the obverse shows a middle-aged Elizabeth II enthroned and robed, holding in her right hand a sceptre and in her left the orb. The circumscription ELIZABETH. II. D. G. BRITT. REGNORVMQVE. SVORVM. CETER. REGINA. CONSORTIONIS. POPVLORVM. PRINCEPS. F. D. is the abbreviated Latin form of the royal title. On the reverse are the full royal arms, including crest and supporters; this is the first time that the royal arms have provided the main design for one side of the British Great Seal. The reverse of the 1953 version depicted the Queen on horseback, dressed in uniform and riding sidesaddle, as she used to attend the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony for many years until the late 1980s; the seal's diameter is 6 inches and the combined weight of both sides of the seal matrix exceeds 275 troy ounces. The Great Seal is attached to the official documents of state that require the authorisation of the monarch to implement the advice of the Government.
Under today's usage of the Great Seal, seals of dark green wax are affixed to letters patent elevating individuals to the peerage, blue seals authorise actions relating to the Royal family, scarlet seals appoint bishops and implement various other affairs of state. In some cases the seal is replaced by a wafer version, a smaller representation of the obverse of the Great Seal embossed on coloured paper attached to the document being sealed; this simpler version is used for royal proclamations, letters-patent granting the royal assent, writs of summons to Parliament and for licences for the election of bishops and commissions of the peace. It constituted treason to forge the Great Seal; the Great Seal of the Realm is in the custody of and administered by the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. This office has been held jointly with that of Lord Chancellor since 1761; the current Lord Chancellor is David Gauke. The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 reiterates that the Lord Chancellor continues to be the custodian of the Great Seal.
The Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, Permanent Secretary of the Minis