Laura Bailey wins Alastair Durie Prize

Laura Bailey (Cambridge) has won the Economic and Social History Society of Scotland’s inaugural Alastair J. Durie Prize 2021, for an essay entitled ‘The royal seals of Scotland in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries: questions of representation, identity, and kingship’.  The essay was based on research from her BA dissertation, which she hopes to develop further in the future.

In her essay, Laura examines how the royal seals of Scotland played a role in the active construction of the royal image during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.  Seals served to authenticate and create trust in documentation, whilst also offering a visual and tactile embodiment of the sealer.  The iconography of seals could play into ideas of power and identity, offering a valuable source for the historian to explore.  Laura’s research explores how the developments in royal seal design might be situated both within wider iconographical trends and within developments in the perception of the Scottish kingship.  The iconography of the royal seals of Scotland appears to be based not upon ideas of ‘Scottish’ identity, but rather upon the assertion of equal status with other kings. 

A blog post discussing the research - and the questions that it raises - can be found here on the ESHSS website.