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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    Greece (made)

  • Date:

    400 BC-300 BC (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved gold

  • Museum number:

    430-1871

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 4, shelf A, box 15

The bezel of this ring is engraved with a female figure seating on a chair. She is being crowned with a laurel wreath by a winged Nike, the goddess of victory. There are many rings bearing figures of Nikè or of her attributes (mainly palms). Some might have been worn by soldiers, to protect them from defeat.

This ring forms part of a collection of over 600 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-81). Waterton was one of the foremost ring collectors of the nineteenth century and was the author of several articles on rings, a book on English devotion to the Virgin Mary and an unfinished catalogue of his collection (the manuscript is now the National Art Library). Waterton was noted for his extravagance and financial troubles caused him to place his collection in pawn with the London jeweller Robert Phillips. When he was unable to repay the loan, Phillips offered to sell the collection to the Museum and it was acquired in 1871. A small group of rings which Waterton had held back were acquired in 1899.

Edmund Waterton used the fortune which was made by his family’s involvement in the British Guiana sugar plantations to put his collection together. His grandfather owned a plantation known as Walton Hall and his father, Charles Waterton, went to Guiana as a young man to help run La Jalousie and Fellowship, plantations which belonged to his uncles. When slavery was abolished in the British territories, Charles Waterton claimed £16283 6s 7d in government compensation and was recorded as having 300 slaves on the Walton Hall estate.

Physical description

Gold ring, the vesica-shaped bezel engraved with a seated woman holding a Victory who is offering a crown.

Place of Origin

Greece (made)

Date

400 BC-300 BC (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Engraved gold

Dimensions

Height: 1.9 cm, Width: 2.1 cm, Depth: 1.2 cm

Descriptive line

Gold ring, the vesica-shaped bezel engraved with a seated woman holding a Victory who is offering a crown, Greek world, 400 BC-300 BC

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

'British Guiana 2426 (Walton Hall)', Legacies of British Slave-ownership database, http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/7157 [accessed 28th May 2019].

Production Note

Greek world, around the Mediterranean

Materials

Gold

Techniques

Engraving (incising)

Subjects depicted

Crowns (headdresses); Women; Victory

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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