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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    late 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver-gilt set with a faceted crystal and garnets with gold

  • Museum number:

    928-1871

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Rulers, both secular and religious, often gave objects engraved with their image such as rings and medallions to people they wanted to reward, or to acknowledge a particular service. These would be worn with pride as a sign of the wearer's political favour and connections. The gold medal set under a crystal in this ring shows Pope Innocent XI (1611-1689), a reforming Pope who attempted to curb nepotism and corruption at the Papal court. The 19th century owner of the ring, Edmund Waterton, held offices in the papal court and was an ardent Catholic. The association of this ring with the Pope would have brought him particular pleasure.

This ring forms part of a collection of 760 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-87). 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.

Physical description

Silver-gilt ring, the circular bezel set with a faceted crystal enclosing a gold medal of Pope Innocent XI. With garnets set on the shoulders

Place of Origin

Italy (made)

Date

late 17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver-gilt set with a faceted crystal and garnets with gold

Dimensions

Height: 2.3 cm, Width: 2 cm, Depth: 1.2 cm

Object history note

ex Waterton Collection

Descriptive line

Silver-gilt ring, the circular bezel set with a faceted crystal enclosing a gold medal of Pope Innocent XI (1676-1689), with garnets on the shoulders, Italy, late 17th century

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

Bury, Shirley, Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982), 34/E/21
Oman, Charles, Catalogue of rings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1930, reprinted Ipswich, 1993, p. 118, cat. 788

Materials

Silver-gilt

Subjects depicted

Portraits; Hands

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Religion

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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