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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1300-50 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved gold

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Joan Evans

  • Museum number:

    M.60-1960

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 6, shelf B, box 1

This ring is known as a posy ring, deriving from the French 'poesie ' (poetry). Posy rings were plain hoops inscribed with mottoes or saying, that might express sentiments of faith, commemoration, friendship and love. It was an especially popular type of ring in the fifteenth century. The romantic inscriptions on posy rings suggest that they were also used for weddings.

The phrase engraved on the ring in French, ‘Io sui de druerie, ne me dune mie’, can be read as ‘I am a love gift, do not give me away’. A longer version of the motto was woven into a ribbon attached to the seal of King Richard I: ‘Jo sui de druerie/ Ne me denez mie/ Ki nostre amour deseivre/ La mort pui is ja receivre’ (I am a love token, do not give me away. If our love is separated, may the perpetrator incur death.) 'Druerie or dru are terms often found in medieval texts and romances and refer to friendship, love, affection or tenderness. Although the text on this ring is in French, it could have been made elsewhere as French and Latin were languages used by the educated across Europe.

Physical description

Gold posy ring, the hoop inscribed in lombardic characters + IOSVI: DE: DRVERIE: NE: ME: DVNE: MIE.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1300-50 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Engraved gold

Marks and inscriptions

+ IOSVI: DE: DRVERIE: NE: ME: DVNE: MIE
'I am a love token, do not give me away'
inscription, hoop; in lombardic characters

Dimensions

Depth: 0.3 cm, Diameter: 1.9 cm

Object history note

From the Sir Arthur Evans Collection. This ring is inscribed 'Io sui de druerie ne me dune mie' in Lombardic lettering. This phrase, translated as 'I am a love gift do not give me away' is also found on a ring in the British Museum (Dalton, O.M., Catalogue of the Finger Rings, Early Christian, Byzantine, Teutonic, Medieval and Later in the British Museum, London, 1912, cat. 958) as well as woven into a ribbon atached to a grant of Richard I to the constable of Normandy. Sir Arthur Evans recorded a longer version of the motto as ' Jo sui druerie/ ne me dunez mie/ ki nostre amur deseivre/ la mort pui si ja receive.

Descriptive line

Gold posy ring, the hoop inscribed in French + IOSVI: DE: DRVERIE: NE: ME: DVNE: MIE . ( 'I am a love gift, do not give me away'). Probably England or France, 1300-50.

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

Bury, Shirley, Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982), 32/ L/ 2
Taylor, Gerald and Scarisbrick,Diana Finger rings from ancient Egypt to the present day , Oxford: Ashmolean Museum press, 1978, p. 46, cat. 259
Evans, Joan, English posies and posy rings, 1931, p. 2

Materials

Gold

Techniques

Engraving

Subjects depicted

Love

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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