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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    Europe

  • Date:

    1100-1300

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gilt bronze and paste (glass)

  • Museum number:

    648-1871

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This ring forms part of a collection of over 600 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-81). Waterton was one of the foremost ring collectors of the nineteenth century and was the author of several articles on rings, a book on English devotion to the Virgin Mary and an unfinished catalogue of his collection (the manuscript is now the National Art Library). Waterton was noted for his extravagance and financial troubles caused him to place his collection in pawn with the London jeweller Robert Phillips. When he was unable to repay the loan, Phillips offered to sell the collection to the Museum and it was acquired in 1871. A small group of rings which Waterton had held back were acquired in 1899.

Edmund Waterton used the fortune which was made by his family’s involvement in the British Guiana sugar plantations to put his collection together. His grandfather owned a plantation known as Walton Hall and his father, Charles Waterton, went to Guiana as a young man to help run La Jalousie and Fellowship, plantations which belonged to his uncles. When slavery was abolished in the British territories, Charles Waterton claimed £16283 6s 7d in government compensation and was recorded as having 300 slaves on the Walton Hall estate.

Physical description

Gilt bronze hoop, divided at the back. Raised square bezel with a four-claw setting holding a polished blue glass paste.

Place of Origin

Europe

Date

1100-1300

Materials and Techniques

Gilt bronze and paste (glass)

Object history note

Oman (cat. 243) compares the ring to one found near the tomb of William Rufus in Winchester Cathedral (South Kensington Museum , Catalogue of the Special Exhibition, 1862, p. 637) and also rings in the British Museum (Dalton, 1743-8).

Descriptive line

Gilt bronze ring with a square bezel set with a blue glass paste. Europe, 1100-1300.

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

'British Guiana 2426 (Walton Hall)', Legacies of British Slave-ownership database, http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/7157 [accessed 28th May 2019].
Waterton, Edmund Dactyliotheca Watertoniana: a descriptive catalogue of the finger-rings in the collection of Mrs Waterton, (manuscript, 1866, now in National Art Library)
Oman, Charles, Catalogue of rings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1930, reprinted Ipswich, 1993, cat. 243

Materials

Bronze; Paste gems

Categories

Jewellery

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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