Ring thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Ring

1400-1500 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Rings are the most commonly surviving medieval jewels. They were worn by both sexes, across all levels of society. Some portraits show wearers with multiple rings across all their fingers. This silver ring is decorated with a portrait of a woman, engraved into the silver and coloured black with niello (a paste of copper, silver and lead sulphides). The image may be a portrait of a particular woman but it could also relate to the tradition of female profile portraits (such as Domenico Ghirlandaio's 'Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni', 1488) but also to the contemporary 'belle donne' maiolica dishes decorated with standardized bust portraits of women.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Engraved and nielloed silver
Brief Description
Nielloed silver ring, the bezel decorated with the bust of a woman, and the shoulders decorated with rosettes. Italy, 1400-1500.
Physical Description
Nielloed silver ring, the bezel decorated with the bust of a woman, and the shoulders decorated with rosettes.
Dimensions
  • Height: 1.9cm
  • Width: 2.1cm
  • Depth: 1.6cm
Object history
These Italian niello rings engraved with female busts may perhaps relate to the tradition of female profile portraits (eg. Domenico Ghirlandaio's 'Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni', 1488) but also to the contemporary 'belle donne' maiolica dishes decorated with standardized bust portraits of women.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Rings are the most commonly surviving medieval jewels. They were worn by both sexes, across all levels of society. Some portraits show wearers with multiple rings across all their fingers. This silver ring is decorated with a portrait of a woman, engraved into the silver and coloured black with niello (a paste of copper, silver and lead sulphides). The image may be a portrait of a particular woman but it could also relate to the tradition of female profile portraits (such as Domenico Ghirlandaio's 'Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni', 1488) but also to the contemporary 'belle donne' maiolica dishes decorated with standardized bust portraits of women.
Collection
Accession Number
7550-1861

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record createdMarch 7, 2006
Record URL