Friday, February 26, 2021

Dunsany's Wax Seals

I have previously written about Dunsany's clay caricatures at Wormwoodiana.  Recently I discovered some photographs of Dunsany's sealing wax stamps. I've long known of one example, which appears on the Sunwise Turn edition of A Night at an Inn (1916). In fact it appears there twice, in color (stamped in red wax) on the upper cover:

and as a line drawing on the title page (of the first printing only):

A note on the copyright page states the design is from "a silver seal cut by Lord Dunsany."  Elsewhere, in making an example in wax of a similar seal for a friend, Dunsany noted that the scarlet color of the wax "is too strong and might blind the eyes of men so I will make a less glaring dawn," pouring a violet blue over the scarlet and making a blend of the violet red which shows just before the sun appears. "And now you will see my horse riding along the dawn ..." 

Here are a few other of Dunsany's seals, with his descriptive captions. 

The Epistolary God: taking care of Letters to Friends. To whom the Atlantic is but a running stream and all the Plains but a Garden.
A God of the Mountain

A holy man; as some believe, a God, this being a heresy wherefore men are damned

Here is a slightly different version of the first seal given above (note the positioning of the forelegs of Pegasus, and the differing number of sun-rays), with a caption:

Pegasus taking a gallop above Sunrise


  1. Wonderful post. Thank you for these pictures and descriptions.

  2. Yes, fascinating. Dunsany really could it all. --md

  3. Wow, where did you find the images of the wax seals? I've always wondered about this. I wish I could post an image here - I have a plaster mold of this identical seal, which was found among materials belonging to sculptor John Mowbray-Clarke, whose wife Mary published this play under the imprint of her bookshop, The Sunwise Turn. I've always wondered if the plaster mold could have been an impression made from the wax seal. Incredible to see the image of the actual wax seal!

    1. They come from a magazine article on Dunsany from the late teens. I don't remember the details off the top of my head. They were too cool not to share!

    2. Wow I am so curious what the magazine article was! They are amazing.

  4. The magazine came up via a google search. I probably still have the pages printed out out but it would take digging to find them.