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

Ring

1819-1838 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This ring was a romantic present from a man to his love. The French word 'pensées' means both pansies, as painted on the bezel of this ring, and 'thoughts'. In this case the pansies stand for 'pensez', meaning 'think'. The flowers and words taken together read 'Pensez à votre ami', 'think of your friend'. The lover hoped that his love would wear the ring and think of him.

The 'language of flowers' is said to have come from the early 18th century Ottoman court. Coded messages could be sent through real or painted flowers. In 1819 Louise Cortambert helped to popularise the custom. Writing under the pen name 'Madame Charlotte de la Tour,' her book ‘Le Langage des Fleurs’, was the first dictionary to lay out the significance of each flower.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold, enamel and glass
Brief Description
Gold ring set with two green glass stones and enamelled plaques decorated with pansies and the inscription 'A votre ami', a rebus which reads as 'think of your friend'.
Physical Description
Gold hoop with bevelled edge set with two enamelled plaques, one bearing a pattern of pansies, the other inscribed 'A votre ami'. Between the plaques can be seen two small green glass stones.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 21mm
  • Height: 7mm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • a votre ami (Rebus comprised of pansies (in French 'penseés') and 'a votre ami', giving the phrase 'Pensez à votre ami' or 'Think of your friend'.)
  • Paris mark for 1819-38
Credit line
Given by Geoffrey and Caroline Munn
Subjects depicted
Summary
This ring was a romantic present from a man to his love. The French word 'pensées' means both pansies, as painted on the bezel of this ring, and 'thoughts'. In this case the pansies stand for 'pensez', meaning 'think'. The flowers and words taken together read 'Pensez à votre ami', 'think of your friend'. The lover hoped that his love would wear the ring and think of him.



The 'language of flowers' is said to have come from the early 18th century Ottoman court. Coded messages could be sent through real or painted flowers. In 1819 Louise Cortambert helped to popularise the custom. Writing under the pen name 'Madame Charlotte de la Tour,' her book ‘Le Langage des Fleurs’, was the first dictionary to lay out the significance of each flower.
Collection
Accession Number
M.227-2007

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record createdOctober 29, 2007
Record URL