This heraldic painting closely resembles the state seal of Maryland, the history of which is quite tumultuous. The first Great Seal was delivered to the colony shortly after its settlement, but it was soon stolen by the pirate Richard Ingle during the rebellion of 1645. Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, sent a similar seal from Britain, in 1648, which remained the seal through the 18th century (except during Crown rule by the House of Orange from 1692-1715). In 1854, Maryland readopted a similar version of the original Great Seal on its reverse side, and its revised 1876 design continues to be used today.
While the coat of arms pictured here certainly resembles the state seal of Maryland, it more directly reflects the seal of St. Mary's County- the site of the first English settlement of Lord Baltimore's Maryland and the first county, established in 1637. The primary discrepancy, in addition to the more minor variations such as the use of decorative scrolls instead of an ermine-lined mantle, arises in that the Great Seal displays a farmer and a fisherman, instead of the lions, adjacent to the shield. The seal of St. Mary's County (assumedly first used in 1637), however, presents lions, although in more traditional form than the nearly anthropomorphous ones pictured here. The scroll on the bottom on the county seal, while containing the same motto, folds four times rather than the twice on the seal illustrated here (as well as on the Great Seal).
The featured coat of arms differs from those of both the county and the state in its use of orange (checkered with black) in the two quarters devoted to the Calvert family. The traditional Calvert colors are black and gold, or even yellow, but no notable examples contain orange. A popular legend recounts that George Calvert, during his exploration of the Chesapeake area in 1629, spotted flocks of orioles and chose their black and orange colors for his coat of arms. An alternate version claims that the oriole was chosen as the state bird because it bore the orange and black colors that already existed on the Calvert coat of arms. The arms possibly could have also been temporarily changed to orange during the reign of the House of Orange. (The actual deputed seals during these times, however, display the initials of the incumbent monarchs.) Nevertheless, the seal pictured here most closely resembles the seal of Saint Mary's County.