Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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HAT BADGE WITH VERONICA’S VEIL

Flanders, late 16th- early 17th century

Gilded silver, niello

  • 12.900 €
  • £11,500
  • $15,000
  • HAT BADGE WITH VERONICA’S VEIL

    Flanders, late 16th- early 17th century
    Gilded silver, niello
    Weight 18 grams; diameter 52 mm, depth 4.5 mm

    Description
    Round hat badge composed of a gilded silver frame with grooved rim and corded wire surround. Inserted from the back and set with a collet is a roundel made of silver and niello depicting Veronica’s Veil. The veil with effigy of Christ’s head is tied in bows on either side against a cross-hatched background with niello inlay. The Holy Spirit descends from above and is flanked by a spear and a reed with sponge, instruments associated with the Passion of Christ. Three pendant loops for sewing onto a hat or other textile are attached to the collet.

    Comparisons and Literature
    Very similar in design and depiction of Veronica’s Veil is a hat badge in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (inv. no. 45.2; Scarisbrick 1979, no. 483, and a closely related hat badge with Visitation, both early sixteenth century). A pendant in the British Museum, London, shows a variation of the depiction, St. Veronica holds the veil (exh. cat., Madonnas & Miracles 2017, pp. 130-31, no. 129, sixteenth/seventeenth century). For the history of hat jewels in the Renaissance, cf. Hackenbroch 1996. Such symbols of piety were worn mainly by men as hat badges but also occasionally by women.

    Reference number: 35028

  • Renaissance & Baroque

    Considerable evidence exists concerning the making and wearing of rings in the Renaissance. Their appearance in painted portraits confirms that they continued to be worn on multiple fingers, suspended from chains and ribbons, sewn onto sleeves or hats, and so forth. When not worn they were sometimes stored on parchment rolls or in neatly compartmentalized boxes, known from documents and paintings. In the Renaissance, the medieval practice of using uncut stones was abandoned in favor of faceting; table-cut facets were among the earliest and most popular, but other cuts rapidly followed. Making rings that would show off best the qualities of the stone became a skill that exercised the virtuosity of cutters, chasers, engravers, enamellers, and goldsmiths sometimes in collaboration. The highly sculpturesque quality of most Renaissance and Baroque rings can be compared with the striving for greater veracity that characterizes the monumental arts of this period.

    By far the most common type of ring from the Renaissance was the boxed bezel set with faceted stones in highly ornate geometric bezels with intricate articulated shoulders, sometimes with protruding volutes, the whole richly enameled. Surviving drawings for rings by sixteenth-century goldsmith-designers Etienne Delaune, Pierre Woeiriot, and René Boyvin record variations on this type. Often reviving classical subjects and motifs, numerous cameos and intaglios also date from this era, produced under illustrious, often princely, patronage. By the sixteenth century the careers of famous gem-cutters can be reconstructed; they include Valerio Belli, Alessandro Cesati, Alessandro Masnago, and Francesco Torino. However, few Renaissance cameos and intaglios appear in their original mounts, because they were often made not as rings but rather as virtuoso carvings, kept in drawers in cabinets and taken out and admired by Renaissance princes.

    During Elizabethan and Tudor times in England, commonplace books (the earliest dated 1596) were used by goldsmiths and their customers to provide appropriate inscriptions for rings. References to posy rings (from “poésie” or poetry) abound in literature of the period; for example, in Shakespeare's Hamlet (III, ii, 162): “Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring.” The discovery of the New World also wrought changes in the evolution of rings, as it did for painting, because new stones became available. The newly prized diamond, expensive then as now, was often imitated by the similarly favored rock crystal. Extensive surviving pictorial evidence is useful because it contributes to a more precise dating and localization of rings from this era.

     

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HAT BADGE WITH VERONICA’S VEIL

Flanders, late 16th- early 17th century
Gilded silver, niello
Weight 18 grams; diameter 52 mm, depth 4.5 mm

USD $15,000

Description
Round hat badge composed of a gilded silver frame with grooved rim and corded wire surround. Inserted from the back and set with a collet is a roundel made of silver and niello depicting Veronica’s Veil. The veil with effigy of Christ’s head is tied in bows on either side against a cross-hatched background with niello inlay. The Holy Spirit descends from above and is flanked by a spear and a reed with sponge, instruments associated with the Passion of Christ. Three pendant loops for sewing onto a hat or other textile are attached to the collet.

Comparisons and Literature
Very similar in design and depiction of Veronica’s Veil is a hat badge in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (inv. no. 45.2; Scarisbrick 1979, no. 483, and a closely related hat badge with Visitation, both early sixteenth century). A pendant in the British Museum, London, shows a variation of the depiction, St. Veronica holds the veil (exh. cat., Madonnas & Miracles 2017, pp. 130-31, no. 129, sixteenth/seventeenth century). For the history of hat jewels in the Renaissance, cf. Hackenbroch 1996. Such symbols of piety were worn mainly by men as hat badges but also occasionally by women.

Reference number: 35028