Victoria's great seal given to British Museum

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First donation under Cultural Gifts Scheme.

The Great Seal of Queen Victoria has been acquired by the nation under the Cultural Gifts Scheme, the first presentation since the scheme was introduced in 2013.

Originally, the monarchs' seals were destroyed on their deaths, but by the 16th century the custom was to pass them to the Lord Chancelloir. By the 19th century the practice was to incorporate them into a salver or dish.

This seal, dating from 1860 to 1878 (Disraeli's first two ministries) and in two halves, was given to Lord Cairns who gave half to his predecessor Lord Selborne. Selborne's half was given to the British Museum ion 1977, an snow the sixth  Earl Cairns has given the other half. The whole will go on display in the British Museum.

The seal depicts the Queen enthroned between personifications of religion and justice.

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