The gold mounted George III Fob Seal of a rather unpleasant man.
A good George III gold fob seal with bloodstone matrix cut with a coat-of-arms, the male arms for Wilson, the female arms of Townshend quartering Campbell: for Richard Wilson, circa 1755 to circa 1815, who married, on 23rd March 1779, the Hon. Anne Townshend, daughter of the statesman Rt. Hon. Charles Townshend [died 1767] and his wife, Caroline, Dowager-Countess of Dalkeith, co-heiress of John Campbell, the 2nd Duke of Argyle.
Richard Wilson had been born in Tyrone and was of limited means. He was fortunate, therefore, that his wedding to Anne brought him £2,000 but the money was soon dissipated. He was elected M.P. for Barnstaple in 1796 and the fullest details of his life can be found online [Historyofparliamentonline.Org>Richard Wilson. M.P.]. According to this biography, Wilson ‘and his wife were incorrigible spendthrifts and of a neurotic tendency verging on insanity’. Anne Wilson ran off with a ‘failed attorney’, John Thomson, in 1795 – a move which was entirely understandable if the reports of Richard’s cruelty towards her are true. Richard and Anne were divorced in 1798.
According to Lady Louisa Stuart: ‘this Mr Wilson – whose name, when known, made nobody the wiser – was an Irishman, born to an inheritance of three hundred a year, but greatly in debt, of no profession, accounted a black-leg, and chiefly remarkable for having fought two or three duels… His conversation was bragging and his manner familiar and aisy like those of the Paddy in a farce. All his friends had ten thousand a year; he talked of his horses and carriages, his estate and his interest; and when he addressed you as a lady, you could not help drawing back for fear he should give you a kiss.’
One image of the armorial matrix is a ‘mirror image’ which displays the arms as they would appear on a wax seal.
Height – 4 cm.; Width – 3.30 cm.; Depth – 2.80 cm.; Weight – 21.70 gms.