BARON FINN GAUTSSON SEAL

MS 2223/16
MS Short Title BARON FINN GAUTSSON SEAL
Text S’ FINNONIS BARONIS REGIS NORWAGIE. (SEAL OF) Baron FINN, KINGDOM OF NORWAY
Description MS in Latin on bronze, Mel near Bergen, Sunnhordland, Norway, or England, 1247-1266, 1 seal matrix, diam. 4,4 cm, 1 line in a formal Lombardic script, with armoured knight wearing helmet and brandishing a sword, mounted on a horse galloping right.
Context The seal impression of baron Finn Gautsson was one of those attached to the Treaty of Perth of 1266, which ceded the Orkneys, Hebrides and Isle of Man from Norway to Scotland, after the Norwegian fleet was defeated by Alexander III at Largs in 1263. The other Norwegian signatories were Bishop Peter of Bergen; Bishop Torgils of Stavanger; Baron Andres Niklasson, Chancelor of the Norwegian king Magnus VI Lagabøter; and Baron Brynjol Jonnson. Neither of the 2 original treaty documents have survived. The original of the renewal of the treaty in 1312 is still in Edinburgh, H.M general Register House; printed in the Acts of Parliament I, p. 78, and in Diplomatarium Norvegicum XIX, no. 482.
Provenance 1. Finn Gautsson, Mel, Sunnhordland, Norway (ca. 1247-1288); 2. Found in a field near Wymondham, Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk (-1996) by Alan Womack,; 3. Glendining's Cat. 2.10.1996:490.
Commentary Finn was the son of Gaut Jonsson who died in 1270. Finn Gautsson is mentioned several times in Håkon Håkonsson's saga from 1247 onwards, and mentioned last time in a document from 1288. The origin of the seal is a thorny question. Artistic relations between England and Norway in the middle of the thirteenth century were extremely close. Matthew Paris, the artist and chronicler of St. Alban’s, for instance, went on a mission to the king of Norway at Bergen in 1248. The king was Haakon Haakonsson (1217-1263), who shared similar aesthetic interests with Henry III, King of England (1216-1272). Indeed, in 1236 Henry gave to Haakon a replica by the goldsmith Walter de Croxton of his own first Great Seal (of 1218, made by Walter de Ripa). Finn’s seal bears comparison not only with the best English work of c.1250 which is often associated with Westminster, but also with Norwegian panel painting, such as the mid-thirteenth century Ulvik altar frontal (University of Bergen, The Historical Museum). In both style and design, Norwegian seals are very similar to English ones at this period.
Published Manuscripts in The Schøyen Collection, ed.-in-chief, Prof. Jens Braarvig. vol. IV: Medieval seal matrices. Ed. by Richard Linenthal and William Noel. Oslo, Hermes, 2004.
Place of origin Norway or England
Dates 1247 - 1266 AD

Location