Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1912 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pearson, Reginald (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold decorated with niello and sapphires

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Katherine Chapman

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 30, shelf A, box 4

This gold ring, engraved with grape vines and set with three cabochon sapphires is inscribed 'Mh. SEP.5.1912.AM.J' . It was commissioned as an engagement ring from Reginald Pearson by his friend Arthur Morley Jones for Mary Houseman to whom he became engaged on 5 September 1912. They were married on 27 April 1915.

Reginald Oswald Pearson (1887-1915), painter, engraver, jeweller, worker in stained glass and poet, a former student at the Royal College of Art, London, was reported missing on 16 June 1915 near Hooge while serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Lincolnshire Regiment, having joined up in August 1914 as part of the Artists' Rifles. His name is on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial although his body was never recovered. He is also commemorated in the 1922 student journal of the Royal College of Arts and on the memorial by Percy Metcalfe, now on the Stevens Building at the RCA.

His obituary, printed in the Arts and Crafts journal 'The Apple' in 1920 describes his love of craftsmanship and tradition, describing him as 'an independent mind, determined to take nothing on trust and above all to avoid all "modern" theoretical experimentalism'. This interest in past craftsmanship can be seen in the use of niello and cabochon stones, taken from the traditions of medieval jewellery.

The ring was given to the V&A by Mrs Katharine Chapman, the daughter of Arthur Jones and Mary Houseman.

Physical description

Gold ring with a reeded hoop terminating in triangular arrangements of granules. The shoulders, decorated with niello leaves, swell towards the oval bezel which runs in the direction of the finger and is set with three cabochon sapphires within a beaded border. The reverse of the bezel is decorated in niello with symmetrical foliage flanking an oval with two peacocks bending their heads into one vase.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1912 (made)


Pearson, Reginald (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gold decorated with niello and sapphires

Marks and inscriptions

Mh. SEP.5.1912.AM.J
In niello, inside the hoop.


Height: 2.1 cm, Width: 1 cm, Depth: 1.3 cm

Object history note

Reginald Oswald Pearson was listed as part of the Regular Battalion in the Lincolshire Regiment in the Regimental Roll of Honour of the Artists Rifles. He became one of the 2003 members of the Artists Rifles who died in the 1914-18 war. The Roll of Honour recorded that 'this moment, without frivolity, the fact that these boys, all of them, looked death straight in the face, laughing and smiling, and that the Artists earned at that time the sobriquet of 'The Suicide Club'.'

Arthur Morley Jones was the brother of the sculptor and medallist Sidney Langland Jones (1888-1948) who studied at the Royal College of Art with Reginald Pearson. Although Reginald Pearson volunteered for the Artists Rifles, Arthur Morley Jones, a bank employee, applied for exemption as a conscientious objector and his brother Sidney Langland Jones appears to have done likewise. Conscientious objectors were placed under a great deal of legal and social pressure and it took courage to assert your religious or moral refusal to serve.

Descriptive line

Gold ring decorated with niello and sapphires, made by Reginald Pearson, England, about 1912.

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

Church, Rachel, Rings, London, V&A Publishing, 2011, pp.94-5, fig. 122


Gold; Sapphire




Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.