Signet Ring thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Signet Ring

1600-1650 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Signet rings are rings engraved, or cast, generally bearing a coat of arms, crest or cypher of entwined letters. They were used from the earliest times for the utilitarian purpose of authenticating a document by impressing the ring into heated wax to form a seal.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Cast and engraved gold (just under 23 carats standard).
Brief description
Gold, no hallmarks, London 1600-50, maker unidentified, engraved with the arms of Sir John Leman.
Physical description
A gold signet ring engraved with the arms of Sir John Leman; with three dolphins embowed.
Dimensions
  • Approx. diameter: 2cm
Marks and inscriptions
  • Arms of Sir John Leman (Two dolphins embowed above and one below a stripe, all within a shield shape.)
  • Maker's mark 'c' within a shield (Unidentified)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: By descent to the Rev. George Orgill Leman, Brampton Hall, 1847. R. G. Kahn Esq., 1950s. S. J. Phillips, Nov, 1998.
Subject depicted
Summary
Signet rings are rings engraved, or cast, generally bearing a coat of arms, crest or cypher of entwined letters. They were used from the earliest times for the utilitarian purpose of authenticating a document by impressing the ring into heated wax to form a seal.



Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Associated objects
Bibliographic references
  • Suckling, Alfred. The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk. London, 1846, vol. II, pp. 183-5.
  • Weinstein, Rosemary. 'The Making of a Lord Mayor, Sir John Leman (1544-1632): the integration of a stranger family'. Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London, Vol. XXIV, No. 4, 1986; pp.316-24.
Other numbers
  • Misc 202 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1999.65 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • SG 311 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession number
LOAN:GILBERT.23-2008

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Record createdJune 19, 2008
Record URL
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