This representation of the Common Seal of the University is executed from an original design presented to the University by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Bart. (1833-1898), the artist of Welsh extraction noted for his romantic neo-medieval paintings and decorative designs,particularly in stained glass.
On the obverse of the Seal the ield is occupied by a seated figure under an arcade, holding an open book, and representing the teaching side of the University: that is to say, Wisdom or Knowledge as the Instructor. On the right and left are two standing figures also holding books, representing the students and graduates of the University,together with the shields of the three founding Constituent Colleges, with their devices of the Rose, the Castle, and the Mace.
The surrounding inscription (Orieturin tenebris lux et aedificabuntur deserta seculorum) is taken from the Vulgate Latin version of the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 58, Verses 10 and 12. Theseverses, quoted more fully in Welsh and in the English Authorised Version,feature in the formal proclamation of all degree congregations of the University: "Yna dy oleuni a gyfyd mewn tywyllwch, a’th dywyllwch a fyddfel hanner dydd. A’r rhai a fyddant ohonot ti a adeiladant yr hen ddiffeithleoedd / Then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day, and they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places" - the allusion being to the revival of learning in Wales, which received its crown in the creation of the University.
The design incorporates the motto of the University:
Goreu Awen Gwirionedd - The Best Inspiration is Truth.
On the reverse side of theSeal is a building symbolising the University, with cloisters below and classrooms above, and placed between the mountains and the sea. The surrounding inscription (Edita doctrina sapientum templa serena) is a verse from Lucretius, Book ii, line 8, meaning "The serene regions (or mansions) of the wise raised high by learning."