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Ring

c. 1400 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Love and affection were frequently expressed by means of inscriptions. Rings so inscribed are known as 'posy' rings (from 'poesy' or poetry). Occasionally in Latin, these inscriptions are most commonly found in French, the language of courtly love, that would have been fairly widely understoon by the elite in medieval Europe. Love inscriptions on rings often repeat each other, which suggests that goldsmiths had reference books of stock phrases. The double setting on this ring, with the differing colours of red and blue, adds emphasis to the notion of a pair of lovers.The hidden compartment underneath the bezel, unseen to all and known only by the two lovers, may have held a further token of love.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Gold ring set with a sapphire and a garnet; engraved flowers and inscription on the hoop.
Brief description
Gold finger ring set with a sapphire and a garnet; engraved flowers and inscription on the hoop.
Physical description
Gold finger ring, set with a sapphire and a garnet. The wide shoulders are engraved with foliate motifs, and terminate in a broad bezel with a double setting, containing a sapphire and a garnet. Underneath this bezel is a compartment covered by a sliding panel. Inscribed inside the hoop, an inscription in Gothic script.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.3cm
  • Width: 2.2cm
  • Depth: 0.7cm
Marks and inscriptions
'► oue ► tout ► mon ► coer ►' (Inscribed in Gothic script inside the hoop.)
Gallery label
1. Gold, originally enamelled, set with a ruby and a sapphire. Inscribed Oue . tout . mon . coer. ENGLISH: 15th century. Sir Arthur Evans Collection. Given by Dr. Joan Evans, P.P.S.A. M.189-1962(1972-1982)
Credit line
Given by Dame Joan Evans
Association
Summary
Love and affection were frequently expressed by means of inscriptions. Rings so inscribed are known as 'posy' rings (from 'poesy' or poetry). Occasionally in Latin, these inscriptions are most commonly found in French, the language of courtly love, that would have been fairly widely understoon by the elite in medieval Europe. Love inscriptions on rings often repeat each other, which suggests that goldsmiths had reference books of stock phrases. The double setting on this ring, with the differing colours of red and blue, adds emphasis to the notion of a pair of lovers.The hidden compartment underneath the bezel, unseen to all and known only by the two lovers, may have held a further token of love.
Bibliographic references
  • Campbell, Marian. Medieval Jewellery in Europe 1100-1500, London: V&A Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9781851775828
  • Exhibition of English Mediaeval Art, 1930 [Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, with an introduction by Eric Maclagan]. London: Board of Education, May 1930; rev. edn August 1930).
  • Evans, Joan. English Posies and Posy Rings: A Catalogue. London: Oxford University Press / H. Milford, 1931.
Collection
Accession number
M.189-1962

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Record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL
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