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  • Place of origin:

    Poitou (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1780 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved silver

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This ring was acquired by the Museum in 1871 as part of a large collection of rings which had been assembled by the Victorian scholar Edmund Waterton. It was described at that time as 16th-century Italian.

It is more likely to come from the Poitou region of France. The design, of a capital ‘L’ with a heart, was a popular motif on betrothal rings in the region. It represents the rebus ‘mon coeur à elle’ meaning ‘my heart belongs to her’. Rings of this type mainly date from the late 18th and early 19th century, although they may have been in use as early as the 13th or 14th century. This example was probably made before 1797 as later French maker’s marks have a lozenge-shaped frame.

Physical description

Cast silver ring with a flat square bezel. The bezel is engraved with a capital ‘L’ enclosing a burning heart, arranged parallel to the shank. The shoulders are baluster shaped supporting a grooved section with a worn head attached.

Place of Origin

Poitou (made)


1750-1780 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraved silver

Marks and inscriptions

A pseudo signet, engraved, enclosing a heart

Mark of unidentified maker.
On inside of bezel.


Height: 2.1 cm, Width: 2.4 cm, Depth: 1.2 cm

Object history note

ex Waterton Collection

Descriptive line

Silver ring with a square bezel engraved with 'L' enclosing a heart, Poitou (France), 1750-1780.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Mason, Carol l. Reading the Rings: Decoding Iconographic ("Jesuit") Rings;Historical Archaeology, Vol. 44, No. 2 (2010), pp. 8-13
Oman, Charles, Catalogue of rings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1930, reprinted Ipswich, 1993, p. 106, cat. 670
Bury, Shirley, Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982), 33/J/8





Subjects depicted

Heart; Lion masks


Jewellery; Metalwork; Marriage


Metalwork Collection

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