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Object Name: Seal matrix
Date: ca. 1620
Related People:
Medium: Silver
Dimensions: Overall: 1 × 1 3/8 in., 1 oz (troy) 5.7 dwt (2.5 × 3.5 cm, 40 g)
Place made: Europe, Dutch Republic
Description: Cast circular matrix; obverse engraved with Van Rensselaer coat of arms at center (shield containing moline cross with close helmet above, flanked by foliate decoration, and crest of basket issuing flames); hinged openwork handle on reverse; part of chain attached. Star engraved on edge at top of seal. Unmarked.
Credit Line: Gift of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer V
Object Number: 1944.258
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Marks: intaglio (inverted): on obverse: "KILIAEN VAN RENSELAER.[sic]"
Inscribed: INSCRIPTION: "KILIAEN VAN RENSELAER." engraved on obverse around perimeter.

Gallery Label:

This seal matrix was used to facilitate communication between Amsterdam merchant Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (ca. 1580-1643), the first patroon and founder of the colony of Rensselaerswyck, and his agents in New Netherland. The matrix's configuration and design are typical of pendant seals made in the Netherlands and England during the early seventeenth century. The cast and engraved matrix identifies its owner around the periphery and bears the family coat of arms at the center: a shield with moline cross with close helmet above, flanked by mantling, and a crest of a basket issuing flames.

Provenance:

Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (ca. 1580-1643), who married (2nd) Anna Wely (ca. 1601-1670); to their son Jeremias Van Rensselaer (1632-1674), who married Maria Van Cortlandt (1645-1689); to their son Kiliaen Van Rensselaer III (1663-1719), who married Maria Van Cortlandt (1674-ca. 1730); to their son Stephen Van Rensselaer (1707-1747), who married Elizabeth Groesbeck (1707-1756); to their son Stephen Van Rensselaer II (1742-1769), who married Catherine Livingston (1745-1810); to their son General Stephen Van Rensselaer III (1764-1839), who married (2nd) Cornelia Paterson (1780-1849); to their son William Paterson Van Rensselaer (1805-1872), who married (2nd) Sarah Rogers (1810-1887); to their son Kiliaen Van Rensselaer IV (1845-1905), who married Olivia Phelps Atterbury (1848-1923); to their son Kiliaen Van Rensselaer V (1879-1949), the donor.

Bibliography:

Krohn, Deborah, Peter Miller, and Marybeth De Filippis, eds., "Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margrieta van Varick." New York: Bard Graduate Center, New-York Historical Society, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009, p. 178-179

Exhibitions:

"Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margarita van Varick," Bard Graduate Center, New York, NY, September 18, 2009-January 24, 2010.