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Mourning ring

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1764 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Inscribed and enamelled gold

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Rev. R. Brooke

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 12, shelf B, box 6

This is a memorial ring for the Bishop of London, Richard Osbaldeston (1690-1764). It is inscribed MEMENTO (Remember) and RICH: EPIS: LONDON: OB: 15.MAY 1764. AET. 75. (Richard, Bishop of London, died 15 May 1764 aged 75). Memorial rings have been made to commemorate people since the sixteenth century. Money was often left in wills in order for rings to be made for named individuals or to be distributed at the funeral. A general convention holds that white enamel rings were used for children and those who died unmarried and that black was used for those who were married but this convention was not universally observed. Richard Osbaldeston was married twice but died without an heir.

Richard Osbaldeston was a member of a prominent Yorkshire family, son of the MP Sir Richard Osbaldeston. He was a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge before being ordained to the priesthood in 1714. He served as Chaplain in Ordinary to George II and III and as tutor to George III. In 1747, he became Bishop of Carlisle, and in 1762, Bishop of London and Dean of the Royal Chapels. He was buried in his home parish of Hunmanby, East Riding of Yorkshire.

Physical description

Enamelled gold mourning ring, the scroll-edged bezel inscribed in reserve on black enamel MEMENTO. The hoop inscribed RICH: EPIS: LONDON: OB: 15.MAY 1764. AET. 75.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1764 (dated)



Materials and Techniques

Inscribed and enamelled gold

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed on the bezel.

'RICH: EPIS: LONDON: OB: 15.MAY 1764. AET. 75.'
Inscribed on the hoop.


Height: 2.4 cm, Width: 2.3 cm, Depth: 0.8 cm

Object history note

Part of the Brooke collection donated to the V&A in 1864. The Brooke collection includes objects relating to the Brooke family along with the Osbaldestons, who were closely related.

“The Reverend R. Brooke, Gateforth House, Selby, presented, in February 1864, a collection of articles of personal use of the 17th and 18th centuries, being the accumulated memorials of an English family for three or four generations; the most important are watches, rings, seals, lace and court dresses; the total number of objects is 396.” The gift also included 718 books for the new National Art Library. Brooke stipulated that the collection should be kept together and labelled as the ‘Brooke of Gateforth Gift’. (Eighteenth Report of the Science and Art Department of the Committee of Council on Education, London, 1865, pp.40-41).

The minutes also stipulate “That Mr and Mrs Brooke, and the future possessors of the ‘Gateforth Estate’, provided they bear the name and are of the present family of ‘Brooke’, to have the privilege secured to them (by memorandum recorded in the Books of the Museum, and by possession of a Free Pass Ticket) of entrance into the Museum and Library and the Horticultural Gardens attached, on the holding of any scientific or other meetings, and on all other public occasions.’

Descriptive line

Enamelled gold mourning ring, inscribed in reserve on black enamel MEMENTO. The hoop inscribed RICH: EPIS: LONDON: OB: 15.MAY 1764. AET. 75., England, dated 1764.

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

The History and Antiquities of Selby, W. Wilberforce Morrell, 1867, pp. 325-6


Gold; Enamel



Subjects depicted

Death; Mourning


Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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