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Ring thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Ring

1742 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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. From the early seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, testators left money in their wills to have rings with commemorative inscriptions made and distributed to their friends and families. Simple bands enamelled with the name and life dates of the deceased were frequently made, sometimes set with a gemstone or a bezel set with a rock crystal covering a symbol such as a coffin or initials in gold wire. In the later 18th century, rings followed neo-classical designs, their oval bezels often decorated with the same designs as funerary monuments such as urns, broken pillars and mourning figures.

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Enamelled gold set with rose-cut diamonds
Brief Description
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.
Physical Description
Gold ring enamelled in white and set with rose-cut diamonds bearing a memorial inscription for a baby.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Bezel height: 7mm
Marks and Inscriptions
Matthew Arnold died 10 May 1742 aged 8 months
Credit line
Bequeathed by Shirley Mary Olson
Object history
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.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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. From the early seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, testators left money in their wills to have rings with commemorative inscriptions made and distributed to their friends and families. Simple bands enamelled with the name and life dates of the deceased were frequently made, sometimes set with a gemstone or a bezel set with a rock crystal covering a symbol such as a coffin or initials in gold wire. In the later 18th century, rings followed neo-classical designs, their oval bezels often decorated with the same designs as funerary monuments such as urns, broken pillars and mourning figures.



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.
Collection
Accession Number
M.28-2006

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record createdApril 4, 2007
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