- Place of origin:
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Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 9, shelf A, box 18
This ring would have been used as a signet, pressed into hot wax to seal a letter or packet. Personal seals (secreta) provided an essential legal safeguard and were used to witness documents such as wills, deeds of gift, loans and commercial documents, personal letters and land indentures.
Signet rings could be engraved with a coat of arms or crest, an initial, a merchant's mark (a geometric symbol used to mark goods or personal belongings), or a personal symbol. Sixteenth and seventeenth century portraits show signet rings worn on the forefinger or thumb, presumably to make it easy to apply the ring to the wax by turning the hand. They were items of jewellery with a practical function but the use of precious metals and engraved hardstones indicates that they were also signs of status.
The bezel of this ring is engraved with a dog on a leash lying under a tree and the letters IL.
Gold signet ring with a circular bezel engraved with a hound on a leash, couchant beneath a tree, and IL in lombardic characters
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Marks and inscriptions
in lombardic characters
Height: 2.6 cm, Width: 2.5 cm, Depth: 1.3 cm
Object history note
ex Waterton Collectiuon
Gold signet ring with a circular bezel engraved with a hound on a leash, couchant beneath a tree, and IL in lombardic characters, possibly England, 1500-1600.
Dog (animal); Trees
Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project