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Locket

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    after 1649 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, inscribed

  • Credit Line:

    Lt. Col. G. B. Croft-Lyons Bequest

  • Museum number:

    M.811-1926

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 81, shelf D2, box 4

After the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 by the Commonwealth government, commemorative jewellery was immediately produced. Locks of the King's hair, painted miniatures and royalist symbols were set into rings, lockets and pendants and worn as a sign of allegiance to the Royalist cause. As wearing such jewellery could be dangerous during the Civil War, many of these objects may have been hidden until the Restoration or produced after the accession of Charles II. Royalists considered Charles's death to be a martyrdom and images of him often show his eyes gazing upwards towards Heaven. Before his execution, Charles cast the loss of his crown as the change from an earthly kingdom to a celestial - saying "I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can be."

This silver heart shaped locket is inscribed with phrases indicating faithful devotion to the King. 'Live and Dy in Loyalty' and 'I Morne for Monarchie' indicate the unflagging allegiance of the jewel's royalist owner. The front of the locket is inscribed 'Prepared Be to Follow Me/ CR', an invitation to the wearer to be ready to give up their life for the late King's cause.

Although some jewels supporting the King were worn during the Commonwealth period, many were produced after the Restoration of 1660. Charles II was vigilant to ensure that his father’s memory was preserved. He was celebrated as King Charles the Martyr and the day of his death was maintained as a national day of ‘fasting and humiliation’. Rings set with the King’s portrait were therefore worn as a sign of allegiance to the new regime and a repudiation of Commonwealth sympathies. After the exile of James II in 1688, political supporters continued to wear these rings to show their support for the restoration of Catholic Stuart rule. Interest in Charles I continued in the 19th century. In 1813, when the coffin of Charles I was discovered in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, the Prince Regent, later George IV, had it opened and removed a number of mementoes, including locks of hair which were made into jewellery.

Physical description

Silver, heart-shaped locket, the obverse inscribed 'Prepared be to Follow me/CR', and on the reverse 'I live and dy in loyaltye'. On the inside 'I morne for monerchie' with a medallion of King Charles I

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

after 1649 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver, inscribed

Marks and inscriptions

'Prepared Be To Follow Me/CR'
Inscribed on the obverse

'Live and Dy in Loyalty'
Inscribed on the reverse

'I Morne for Monarchie'
Inscribed on the inside

Dimensions

Height: 2.4 cm, Width: 1.9 cm, Depth: 0.4 cm

Descriptive line

Silver, heart-shaped locket, the obverse inscribed 'Prepared Be To Follow Me/CR', and on the reverse 'Live and Dy in Loyalty'. On the inside 'I Morne for Monarchie' with a medallion of King Charles I, England, after 1649

Subjects depicted

Pierced hearts

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Royalty

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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