Mourning 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

Mourning Ring

1810 (dated)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Princess Amelia was the youngest of the fifteen children of George III and Queen Charlotte. This ring commemorates her death at the age of 27 after a long period of illness. She suffered from erysipelas, a recurring skin infection which can cause complications such as pneumonia. Her family were plunged into deep grief by her death and the sad news precipitated her father's descent into a spell of insanity. Accounts of the Princess's death record that she had commissioned 'a ring containing a small lock of her hair set beneath a crystal tablet enclosed by a few sparks of diamonds' and put it on the King's finger, and 'uttered with her dying breath Remember me'.

This ring is part of a set of 52 which were commissioned by her brother and executor of her will, the Prince Regent, later George IV, to mark her life. It is inscribed 'Remember me' and with her initial 'A'. They were made by the Royal goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell and distributed to family and members of the court.

From the early seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, testators left money in their wills to have rings with commemorative inscriptions made and distributed to their friends and families. Simple bands enamelled with the name and life dates of the deceased were frequently made, sometimes set with a gemstone or a bezel set with a rock crystal covering a symbol such as a coffin or initials in gold wire. In the later 18th century, rings followed neo-classical designs, their oval bezels often decorated with the same designs as funerary monuments such as urns, broken pillars and mourning figures. Hair from the deceased was incorporated into the designs or set in a compartment at the back of the ring to give each jewel a uniquely personal element. Black or white enamel were favoured though white enamel was often, though not universally used to commemorate children and unmarried adults.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Enamelled gold
Brief Description
Enamelled gold mourning ring for Princess Amelia, the oval bezel with a crowned 'A' bordered by REMEMBER ME. The hoop inscribed Pss AMELIA DIED 2 NOV: 1810 AGED 27, England, dated 1810.
Physical Description
Enamelled gold mourning ring, the oval bezel with a crowned 'A' on black bordered by the motto REMEMBER ME on a white border. The hoop inscribed Pss AMELIA DIED 2 NOV: 1810 AGED 27.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.1cm
  • Width: 2cm
  • Depth: 1.9cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • REMEMBER ME (Motto on the bezel.)
  • Pss AMELIA DIED 2 NOV: 1810 AGED 27 (Inscription on the hoop.)
Credit line
Given by Dame Joan Evans
Object history
Ex Crisp Collection. Acquired by Sir John Evans from the sale of the Duke of Cambridge's Collection.



Historical significance: Princess Amelia (1783-1810) was the youngest daughter of King George III. Part of a set of 52 rings, 58/- a piece bought from Rundell, Bridge and Rundell - two of which are now in the Royal Collections, see catalogue of Rings & Seals in King's Audience Room, Windsor Castle,1912 (Royal Library).
Subjects depicted
Summary
Princess Amelia was the youngest of the fifteen children of George III and Queen Charlotte. This ring commemorates her death at the age of 27 after a long period of illness. She suffered from erysipelas, a recurring skin infection which can cause complications such as pneumonia. Her family were plunged into deep grief by her death and the sad news precipitated her father's descent into a spell of insanity. Accounts of the Princess's death record that she had commissioned 'a ring containing a small lock of her hair set beneath a crystal tablet enclosed by a few sparks of diamonds' and put it on the King's finger, and 'uttered with her dying breath Remember me'.



This ring is part of a set of 52 which were commissioned by her brother and executor of her will, the Prince Regent, later George IV, to mark her life. It is inscribed 'Remember me' and with her initial 'A'. They were made by the Royal goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell and distributed to family and members of the court.



From the early seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, testators left money in their wills to have rings with commemorative inscriptions made and distributed to their friends and families. Simple bands enamelled with the name and life dates of the deceased were frequently made, sometimes set with a gemstone or a bezel set with a rock crystal covering a symbol such as a coffin or initials in gold wire. In the later 18th century, rings followed neo-classical designs, their oval bezels often decorated with the same designs as funerary monuments such as urns, broken pillars and mourning figures. Hair from the deceased was incorporated into the designs or set in a compartment at the back of the ring to give each jewel a uniquely personal element. Black or white enamel were favoured though white enamel was often, though not universally used to commemorate children and unmarried adults.
Collection
Accession Number
M.151-1962

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record createdJuly 11, 2006
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