Ring thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Ring

1400-50 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Rings are the most commonly surviving medieval jewels. They were worn by both sexes, across all levels of society. Some portraits show wearers with multiple rings across all their fingers. Rings have been used as love gifts and to symbolise marriage since Roman times. 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 may have been suggested by the jeweller . Others must have been chosen by the loving donor. This ring is inscribed in French 'vous et nul aultre' (you and no other) and was probably given to a lover or as part of a courtship.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Engraved gold
Brief Description
Gold ring, the hoop engraved with sprigs and inscribed in black letter Vous et nul autre ('You and no other'). West Europe, 1400-50.
Physical Description
Gold ring, the hoop engraved with sprigs and inscribed in black letter Vous et nul autre
Dimensions
  • Depth: 0.5cm
  • Diameter: 1.9cm
Marks and Inscriptions
inscribed Vous et nul autre (the hoop; in black letter)
Credit line
Given by Dame Joan Evans
Object history
Formerly part of the collection of Dame Joan Evans (1893-1977), art historian and collector. Early on she collected gems and jewels which resulted in the 1921 book, English Jewellery from the 5th Century BC to 1800. Her scholarly interest was established in 1925 by the book Life in Mediaeval France. In 1931 she used her research in adornment to write Pattern: a Study of Ornament in Western Europe from 1180 to 1900. That same year she was named honorary librarian of the Courtauld Institute, London. Evans produced the second of her studies of French medieval life in 1936, Monastic Life at Cluny, 930–1157, followed by Taste and Temperament (1939), Art in Mediaeval France (1948), English Art, 1307–1461(1949), Cluniac Art of the Romanesque Period (1950), and Dress in Mediaeval France (1952). These were interspersed by histories of more contemporary subjects, such as her biography of Chateaubriand in 1939, Madame de Sérilly in 1946, and Joseph Joubert, published in 1947. In 1943 she published a family memoir, Time and Chance: the Story of Arthur Evans and his Forebears. After a biography of John Ruskin in 1954, she co-edited with John Howard Whitehead, Ruskin's diaries in 1956. Evans was elected the first woman president of the Society of Antiquaries in 1959 (through 1964). She donated her gem and jewellery collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum beginning in 1960. She was a trustee of the British Museum (1963-67). In her personal life, she donated time and money to many charitable historic causes, nearly all of them anonymously. Her will left collections to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the Birmingham City Art Gallery.
Subject depicted
Summary
Rings are the most commonly surviving medieval jewels. They were worn by both sexes, across all levels of society. Some portraits show wearers with multiple rings across all their fingers. Rings have been used as love gifts and to symbolise marriage since Roman times. 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 may have been suggested by the jeweller . Others must have been chosen by the loving donor. This ring is inscribed in French 'vous et nul aultre' (you and no other) and was probably given to a lover or as part of a courtship.
Collection
Accession Number
M.57-1946

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record createdMarch 6, 2006
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