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Not currently on display at the V&A

Ring

17th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Rings have been used as love gifts and to symbolise marriage since Roman times. Marriage rings in early modern Europe could be made in a variety of materials and forms but the simple gold band was very commonly used. Gold hoops engraved inside or outside the hoop with a romantic motto were known as posy rings, from the French word 'poesie', or poem. Some posies were quite standardised and could be suggested by the jeweller or found in a book of mottoes or posies. Others must have been chosen by the loving donor. This ring is inscribed 'TIME. DEVM. ME. AMA. QD.' - which can be translated as 'Fear God and love me', showing the central place of religion, even in romantic life.

This ring forms part of a collection of 760 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-87). 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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold, chased and inscribed
Brief Description
Gold ring, the hoop chased with scrolls and inscribed inside 'TIME. DEVM. ME. AMA. QD.' with the initials 'R/ E', England, 17th century
Physical Description
Gold ring, the hoop chased with scrolls and inscribed inside 'TIME. DEVM. ME. AMA. QD.' with the initials 'R/ E'.
Dimensions
  • Depth: 0.6cm
  • Diameter: 2cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'TIME. DEVM. ME. AMA. QD.' with the initials 'R/ E' (inscribed inside)
Object history
Ex Waterton Collection. The catalogue of the Ironmongers Hall exhibition (1861) states: "A wedding ring, inscribed with the motto in Roman Capitals: TIME. DEUM. ME. AMA. QD. R I E - The concluding letters are conjectured by Mr Waterton to signify - "Quod" or "quoth IR and ER", the initials of the wedded couple in accordance with the well known practice of thus placing the initials of the surname above those of the Christian names. Thus the motto will read - Fear God and Love me, as said by each of the persons whose initials are cut on the ring."



The style of the lettering is similar to a ring inscribed 'Time trieth truth', recorded on the Portable Antiquities Database (YORYM-D4B83C).

Not listed in Waterton's 'Dacytliotheca Watertoniana'.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Rings have been used as love gifts and to symbolise marriage since Roman times. Marriage rings in early modern Europe could be made in a variety of materials and forms but the simple gold band was very commonly used. Gold hoops engraved inside or outside the hoop with a romantic motto were known as posy rings, from the French word 'poesie', or poem. Some posies were quite standardised and could be suggested by the jeweller or found in a book of mottoes or posies. Others must have been chosen by the loving donor. This ring is inscribed 'TIME. DEVM. ME. AMA. QD.' - which can be translated as 'Fear God and love me', showing the central place of religion, even in romantic life.



This ring forms part of a collection of 760 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-87). 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.
Bibliographic References
  • Bury, Shirley, Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982), 34/D/6
  • Oman, Charles, Catalogue of rings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1930, reprinted Ipswich, 1993, p. 106, cat. 677
  • A catalogue of the antiquities and works of art exhibited at Ironmongers Hall in the month of May 1861, edited by George Russell French, London 1869, vol ii, p. 509
  • Evans, Joan, English posies and posy rings, 1931, p.101
Collection
Accession Number
904-1871

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record createdNovember 16, 2005
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