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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    c. 1300 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, engraved

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Joan Evans

  • Museum number:

    M.184-1975

  • 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 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 bifaceted circular hoop inscribed in Lombardic capitals + WEL: WERE: HIM: YAT: WISTE: * TO: WHOM: HE: MIGTE: TRISTE.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

c. 1300 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gold, engraved

Marks and inscriptions

inscribed + WEL: WERE: HIM: YAT: WISTE: * TO: WHOM: HE: MIGTE: TRISTE.
'well for him who knows whom he can trust'
Around the bifaceted hoop, in Lombardic capitals, in English.

Dimensions

Height: 2.4 cm, Width: 2.4 cm, Depth: 0.3 cm, Diameter: 2.1 cm Internal

Object history note

Found at Park Street, near St. Albans.

Descriptive line

Gold posy ring, the hoop inscribed in Lombardic capitals + WEL: WERE: HIM: YAT: WISTE: * TO: WHOM: HE: MIGTE: TRISTE., England, ca.1300

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

Bury, Shirley, Rings, HMSO, 1984, p. 25, pl. 27b
Ward, Anne, et al, The Ring: From Antiquity to the Twentieth Century, London, Thames and Hudson, 1981
Oman, Charles, British Rings 800-1914, London, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1974
Campbell, Marian, Medieval Jewellery in Europe 1100-1500, London, V&A Publishing, 2008
Taylor, Gerald and Scarisbrick, Diana Finger rings from ancient Egypt to the present day, Oxford: Ashmolean Museum press, 1978, cat. 258

Materials

Gold

Techniques

Engraving

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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