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Foundation Day

'Light and Education over Darkness and Ignorance': A closer look at the Chancellor's Mace


The Chancellor's Mace has been an important and historic part of the Foundation Day ceremony since the turn of the century.

The Chancellor's Mace, held my Esquire Bedell David Eames

On Foundation Day, the University of London Esquire Bedell leads academic precessions, wearing a specially designed fine robe and carrying the Chancellor’s Mace. The Chancellor’s Mace was made in 1901 by goldsmiths and silversmiths Ramsden and Carr of London and presented to the University by Sir Henry Roscoe, Vice-Chancellor from 1896 to 1902. The original design was subsequently bequeathed to the University.  

Ceremonial mace in box

“The mace is executed in hand-beaten wrought and repoussé silver," described the artist. "Champlevé and translucent enamel, with a lapis lazuli or bon top. It is strengthened with an oak core. Underneath the crown, fitting as a lid, are the royal arms, to signify the deputed royal authority.  

Ceremonial mace close up

“The head itself is formed of four winged figures holding shields. These figures symbolise the triumph of Light and Education over Darkness and Ignorance, as typified by the four bound figures in the knot, immediately underneath. The arms of the University are in champlevé enamel, as is also the obverse side. The other two shields contain inscriptions, one commemorating the foundation of the University and the other setting forth the gift of the mace. 

Ceremonial mace close up, showing gold figure

“The silver staff is overlaid with four twisted cables of silver wire, relieved at intervals by three knots, each containing panels of translucent enamel protected by projecting silver straps. The finial bears in rich repoussé the crowned rose, the special emblem of the University, and ends in a fluted solid spike for resting upon the floor.”   

Ceremonial mace close up, Amplificata MCM