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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    France (possibly, made)
    England (possbily, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1400-1450 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, engraved

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Joan Evans

  • Museum number:

    M.222-1962

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Fran├žoise and Georges Selz Gallery, case 4

Posy rings, the name deriving from poesy ('poetry'), are rings with inscriptions that express affection, friendship and love. Rhyming or cryptic inscriptions were fashionable from around 1200-1500, and were written in Latin but more commonly in French, the language of courtly love. Both these languages were spoken and understood fairly widely by the elite in medieval Europe. The repetition of particular inscriptions suggest that goldsmiths had reference books of stock phrases; the more unusual inscriptions perhaps indicate a client's individual request.The inscription on this ring pense de moy (think of me), in conjunction with the sprigs and hearts, can be clearly interpreted as amorous.
The circular hoop could be engraved both inside and out; until around 1350 the style of lettering took the form of the rounded capitals, known as Lombardic script, and from that date until after 1500 lettering was in the spiky script known as Gothic.

Physical description

'Posy' ring, gold, the plain hoop engraved on the exterior with sprigs and a heart and inscribed in black lettering + pense de moy

Place of Origin

France (possibly, made)
England (possbily, made)

Date

ca. 1400-1450 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gold, engraved

Marks and inscriptions

+ pense de moy
'think of me'
Inscribed around the hoop, in black letter

Dimensions

Height: 2.1 cm, Width: 2.1 cm, Depth: 0.4 cm, Diameter: 1.9 cm Internal

Descriptive line

Gold 'posy' ring, the hoop engraved with sprigs and a heart, inscribed in black letter + pense de moy, England or France, ca. 1400-1450

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

Bury, Shirley, Rings, London, HMSO, 1984
Ward, Anne et al, The Ring: From Antiquity to the Twentieth Century, London, Thames and Hudson, 1981
Taylor, G. and D. Scarisbrick, Finger Rings: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day, London, Lund Humphries, 1978
Scarisbrick, Diana, Rings: Symbols of Wealth and Power, London, Thames and Hudson, 1993
Oman, Charles, British Rings 800-1914, London, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1974
Campbell, Marian, Medieval Jewellery in Europe 1100-1500, London, V&A Publishing, 2009, p.93, fig.101

Materials

Gold

Techniques

Engraving

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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