Ring thumbnail 1
Ring thumbnail 2
+9
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery

Ring

c. 1300 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Posy rings, the name deriving from poesy ('poetry'), are rings with inscriptions that express affection, friendship and love. Rhyming or cryptic inscriptions were fashionable from around 1200-1500, and were written in Latin but more commonly in French, the language of courtly love. Both these languages were spoken and understood fairly widely by the elite in medieval Europe. The repetition of particular inscriptions suggest that goldsmiths had reference books of stock phrases; the more unusual inscriptions perhaps indicate a client's individual request. The circular hoop could be engraved both inside and out; until around 1350 the style of lettering took the form of the rounded capitals, known as Lombardic script, and from that date until after 1500 lettering was in the spiky script known as Gothic.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold, engraved
Brief Description
Gold posy ring, the hoop inscribed in Lombardic capitals + WEL: WERE: HIM: YAT: WISTE: * TO: WHOM: HE: MIGTE: TRISTE., England, ca.1300
Physical Description
Posy ring, gold, the bifaceted circular hoop inscribed in Lombardic capitals + WEL: WERE: HIM: YAT: WISTE: * TO: WHOM: HE: MIGTE: TRISTE.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.4cm
  • Width: 2.4cm
  • Depth: 0.3cm
  • Internal diameter: 2.1cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Marks and Inscriptions
inscribed + WEL: WERE: HIM: YAT: WISTE: * TO: WHOM: HE: MIGTE: TRISTE. (Around the bifaceted hoop, in Lombardic capitals, in English.)
Credit line
Given by Dame Joan Evans
Object history
Found at Park Street, near St. Albans.
Summary
Posy rings, the name deriving from poesy ('poetry'), are rings with inscriptions that express affection, friendship and love. Rhyming or cryptic inscriptions were fashionable from around 1200-1500, and were written in Latin but more commonly in French, the language of courtly love. Both these languages were spoken and understood fairly widely by the elite in medieval Europe. The repetition of particular inscriptions suggest that goldsmiths had reference books of stock phrases; the more unusual inscriptions perhaps indicate a client's individual request. The circular hoop could be engraved both inside and out; until around 1350 the style of lettering took the form of the rounded capitals, known as Lombardic script, and from that date until after 1500 lettering was in the spiky script known as Gothic.
Bibliographic References
  • Bury, Shirley, Rings, HMSO, 1984, p. 25, pl. 27b
  • Ward, Anne, et al, The Ring: From Antiquity to the Twentieth Century, London, Thames and Hudson, 1981
  • Oman, Charles, British Rings 800-1914, London, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1974
  • Campbell, Marian, Medieval Jewellery in Europe 1100-1500, London, V&A Publishing, 2008
  • Taylor, Gerald and Scarisbrick, Diana Finger rings from ancient Egypt to the present day, Oxford: Ashmolean Museum press, 1978, cat. 258
Collection
Accession Number
M.184-1975

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 7, 2006
Record URL