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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1742 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamelled gold set with rose-cut diamonds

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Shirley Mary Olson

  • Museum number:

    M.28-2006

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 12, shelf B, box 4

This mourning ring, enamelled in white, commemorates the death of a baby, Matthew Arnold, who died at the age of eight months in 1742. White, rather than black, enamel generally denotes that the deceased was a child, a spinster or a bachelor.

Matthew Arnold was possibly the son of Matthew Arnold (born 1711) and his wife Charity. The elder Matthew was a merchant, an owner of boats, and a lighterman in Lowestoft in Suffolk, who moved his business to Wapping in London. Family records suggest that he was prominent in the re-building of Wapping Church.

There was possibly a distant relationship between the Arnolds of Wapping and Lowestoft and the family of Matthew Arnold, the 19th century poet, whose family also had its origins in Lowestoft.

Physical description

Gold ring enamelled in white and set with rose-cut diamonds bearing a memorial inscription for a baby.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1742 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Enamelled gold set with rose-cut diamonds

Marks and inscriptions

Matthew Arnold died 10 May 1742 aged 8 months

Dimensions

Diameter: 19 mm, Height: 7 mm bezel

Object history note

This mourning ring commemorates the death of a baby, Matthew Arnold, who died at the age of eight months in 1742. Matthew Arnold was possibly the son of Matthew Arnold (born 1711) and his wife Charity. The elder Matthew was a merchant, an owner of boats, and a lighterman in Lowestoft in Suffolk, who moved his business to Wapping in London. Family records suggest that he was prominent in the re-building of Wapping Church.
There was possibly a distant relationship between the Arnolds of Wapping and Lowestoft and the family of Matthew Arnold, the 19th century poet, whose family also had its origins in Lowestoft.
The ring was later owned by Emily Mary Rivers Arnold who married Dr Leonard Boor, and emigrated to New Zealand with her husband in the 1860s. She was the great-grandmother of Shirley Mary Olson, who has bequeathed the ring.

Descriptive line

Gold and enamelled ring set with rose-cut diamonds with a memorial inscription for a baby. Inscribed Matthew Arnold died 10 May 1742 aged 8 months. England, about 1742.

Materials

Gold; Enamel

Subjects depicted

Childhood; Death; Mourning

Categories

Children & Childhood; Death; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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