Ring thumbnail 1
Ring thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On display at National Civil War Centre, Newark

Ring

mid 18th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

After the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 by the Commonwealth, commemorative jewellery was immediately produced. Locks of the King's hair, painted miniatures and royalist symbols were set into rings, lockets and pendants and worn as a sign of allegiance to the Royalist cause. As wearing such jewellery could be dangerous during the Civil War, many of these objects may have been hidden until the Restoration or produced after the accession of Charles II. Royalists considered Charles's death to be a martyrdom and images of him often show his eyes gazing upwards towards Heaven. Before his execution, Charles cast the loss of his crown as the change from an earthly kingdom to a celestial - saying "I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can be."

Although some jewels supporting the King were worn during the Commonwealth period, many were produced after the Restoration of 1660. Charles II was vigilant to ensure that his father’s memory was preserved. He was celebrated as King Charles the Martyr and the day of his death was maintained as a national day of ‘fasting and humiliation’. Rings set with the King’s portrait were therefore worn as a sign of allegiance to the new regime and a repudiation of Commonwealth sympathies. After the exile of James II in 1688, political supporters continued to wear these rings to show their support for the restoration of Catholic Stuart rule. Interest in Charles I continued in the 19th century. In 1813, when the coffin of Charles I was discovered in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, the Prince Regent, later George IV, had it opened and removed a number of mementoes, including locks of hair which were made into jewellery.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold set with a crystal enclosing a miniature
Brief Description
Gold Royalist commemorative ring, the oval bezel set with a crystal enclosing a miniature of King Charles I on a green enamel background, between two brilliant-cut diamonds in silver collets. England, mid 18th century
Physical Description
Gold commemorative ring, the oval bezel set with a crystal enclosing a miniature of King Charles I, between two brilliant-cut diamonds in silver collets
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.1cm
  • Width: 2cm
  • Depth: 1.1cm
Object history
Historical significance: Commemorates the death of King Charles I
Subjects depicted
Summary
After the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 by the Commonwealth, commemorative jewellery was immediately produced. Locks of the King's hair, painted miniatures and royalist symbols were set into rings, lockets and pendants and worn as a sign of allegiance to the Royalist cause. As wearing such jewellery could be dangerous during the Civil War, many of these objects may have been hidden until the Restoration or produced after the accession of Charles II. Royalists considered Charles's death to be a martyrdom and images of him often show his eyes gazing upwards towards Heaven. Before his execution, Charles cast the loss of his crown as the change from an earthly kingdom to a celestial - saying "I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can be."



Although some jewels supporting the King were worn during the Commonwealth period, many were produced after the Restoration of 1660. Charles II was vigilant to ensure that his father’s memory was preserved. He was celebrated as King Charles the Martyr and the day of his death was maintained as a national day of ‘fasting and humiliation’. Rings set with the King’s portrait were therefore worn as a sign of allegiance to the new regime and a repudiation of Commonwealth sympathies. After the exile of James II in 1688, political supporters continued to wear these rings to show their support for the restoration of Catholic Stuart rule. Interest in Charles I continued in the 19th century. In 1813, when the coffin of Charles I was discovered in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, the Prince Regent, later George IV, had it opened and removed a number of mementoes, including locks of hair which were made into jewellery.
Bibliographic Reference
Dicks, Sophia, The King’s Blood: Relics of King Charles I, exhibition catalogue, Wartski, London, 2010
Collection
Accession Number
M.207-1930

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record createdJuly 17, 2006
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