Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring

Posy Ring, “THE GYFT OF A FRIND”

England, late 16th – 17th century

Gold

  • 5.100 €
  • £4,600
  • $6,000
  • Posy Ring, “THE GYFT OF A FRIND”

    England, late 16th – 17th century
    Gold
    Weight 2.4 gr.; circumference 57.15; US size 8, UK size Q

    Rings with love mottos and amatory inscriptions were known as “posy rings,” a term which derives from the term poetry or poésie. They were well established by the Tudor and Elizabethan periods, and feature in the plays of William Shakespeare, such as in Hamlet (III, 2, 162) “Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring” and in The Merchant of Venice.  In 1579 John Lyly writes in his book Euphues and England “.... Posies in your rings, which are always next to the finger, not to be seene of him that holdeth you by the hand, and yet knowne by you that weare them on your hands.” Here Lyly describes a characteristic of the later posy rings, which have their message discretely concealed within the hoop, not to be seen by anyone, other than by the giver and recipient. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries posy rings enjoyed great popularity. These were customarily exchanged between friends, relatives, and lovers, and at betrothals and wedding ceremonies.  In many instances the message was concealed inside the hoop and its content only known to the wearer and giver.

    Description:
    Gold band with D-section, engraved on the interior is the engraved inscription “THE GYFT OF A FRIND” in serifed capital letters. The ring shows significant traces of wear through its age and use, but it is in good wearable condition.

    Literature:
    Joan Evans records one example with this motto in the British Museum, London (Evans 1931, p. 94), see: Dalton 1912, no. 1293.  For a history of posy rings with extensive list of posies, see Evans, 1931 and Anon., A Garland of Love: A Collection of Posy-Ring Mottoes, London 1907. For further information, see Dalton 1912, pp. 174 ff.; Scarisbrick 2007, pp. 74 ff., Taylor and Scarisbrick 1978, and Oman 1974, pp. 39 ff.

    Reference number: 812

  • Band

    A ring made from a thin, often flat, ribbon-like strip of material (usually metal). The band can be unadorned or decorated.

    Hoop

    Also called the shank, the rounded part of the ring that encircles the finger and connects to the bezel at the shoulders.

    Posy

    From “poesie” for poetry, a posy ring is one with an inscription usually on the interior of the band and was especially popular in Elizabethan and Tudor England.

  • 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.

     

  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
ring

Posy Ring, “THE GYFT OF A FRIND”

England, late 16th – 17th century
Gold
Weight 2.4 gr.; circumference 57.15; US size 8, UK size Q

USD $6,000

Rings with love mottos and amatory inscriptions were known as “posy rings,” a term which derives from the term poetry or poésie. They were well established by the Tudor and Elizabethan periods, and feature in the plays of William Shakespeare, such as in Hamlet (III, 2, 162) “Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring” and in The Merchant of Venice.  In 1579 John Lyly writes in his book Euphues and England “.... Posies in your rings, which are always next to the finger, not to be seene of him that holdeth you by the hand, and yet knowne by you that weare them on your hands.” Here Lyly describes a characteristic of the later posy rings, which have their message discretely concealed within the hoop, not to be seen by anyone, other than by the giver and recipient. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries posy rings enjoyed great popularity. These were customarily exchanged between friends, relatives, and lovers, and at betrothals and wedding ceremonies.  In many instances the message was concealed inside the hoop and its content only known to the wearer and giver.

Description:
Gold band with D-section, engraved on the interior is the engraved inscription “THE GYFT OF A FRIND” in serifed capital letters. The ring shows significant traces of wear through its age and use, but it is in good wearable condition.

Literature:
Joan Evans records one example with this motto in the British Museum, London (Evans 1931, p. 94), see: Dalton 1912, no. 1293.  For a history of posy rings with extensive list of posies, see Evans, 1931 and Anon., A Garland of Love: A Collection of Posy-Ring Mottoes, London 1907. For further information, see Dalton 1912, pp. 174 ff.; Scarisbrick 2007, pp. 74 ff., Taylor and Scarisbrick 1978, and Oman 1974, pp. 39 ff.

Reference number: 812

You might also like

  • Posy Ring, “No riches to content”

    England, 18th century

  • Posy Ring, “BOVND * BY * FATHE +”

    England, late 16th century

  • Posy Ring, “A true friends gift”

    England (Plymouth ?), first half of 18th century

  • Posy Ring, “I chuse never to change”

    England, 17th century

  • Posy Ring, “Hearts United live Contented”

    England, 18th century

  • Posy Ring, “Gods intent none can prevent”

    England, 18th century

  • Memorial Ring, “Remember EP”

    England, early 18th century

  • Posy Ring, "I long to have but blush to crave"

    England, 17th century

  • Posy Ring “Knit in one by christ alone”

    England, late 17th-early 18th century

  • Posy Ring “A loving wife during life”

    England, mid-18th century

  • Jewish Wedding Ring

    Central or Eastern Europe (Hungary?), 19th century

  • Jewish Wedding Ring

    Central or Eastern Europe, 18th century

  • Posy Ring, “Not the value but my love”

    England, late 17th - early 18th century

  • Cameo with Bust of a Young Woman Holding a Dog

    Italy, 16th century; mount 18th century

  • Gold Ring with the Standing Virgin and Child and Openwork Band

    Early Byzantine, late 7th-early 8th century

  • Gold Ring with Engraved Warrior Saint (George?) and Inscription

    Early Byzantine, c. 550-650 AD

  • Gold Ring with Engraved Virgin and Child and Inscription

    Byzantine Empire, 6th-7th century AD

  • Masquerade Ring

    Western Europe, Italy, c. 1760

  • Posy Ring "Dum vita vivat amor" (While there is life, love lives)

    Probably England, 18th century

  • Gold Ring Franciscus South miles

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING “IN THY SIGHT IS MY DELIGHT”

    England, mid-18th century

  • POSY RING "LET UARTU BE GIDE TO THE"

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING "IN LOVE ABIDE TILL DEATH DEUIDE"

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING "GOD ABOVE INCREASE OUR LOVE"

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING "AS GOD DECREED SO WE AGREEDE"

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING “E.A. LOUE VERTUE”

    England, 17th century

  • RENAISSANCE GEMSTONE RING

    Northern Italy, 16th century

  • POSY RING "HE THAT GAVE THIS GIVES HIM LIFE"

    Gold

  • JEWISH WEDDING RING

    Central or Eastern Europe, 18th century

  • Renaissance Gemstone Ring

    Italy, 16th-early 17th century

  • POSY RING “GOD ABOVE INCREASE OUR LOVE”

    England, 17th century

  • RENAISSANCE CAMEO RING

    Italy, cameo: second half of 16th century in a late 18th century ring

  • POSY RING “GOD’S PROVIDENCE IS OUR INHERITANCE”

    England, 18th century

  • POSY RING “I HAVE OBTAINED WHOME GOD ORDAIND”

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING “IN MY CHOYCE I DO REJOYCE”

    England, 17th century

  • POSY, “GOD’S PROVIDENCE IS OUR INHERITANCE”

    England, 17th century

  • Ring with Renaissance Cameo

    Probably Northern Italy, cameo late 16th-early 17th century; ring: second half 18th century

  • Gimmel Fede Ring with Inscription “GAGE D’AMITIE”

    Probably England, c. 1750

  • Memorial Ring with Rebus

    France, c. 1770-1790

  • Ruby and Zircon Band Ring

    Northern India, late 19th century

  • “LOVE” Ring by Robert Indiana

    United States, 1969

  • Gold and Enamel Band by Giovanni Corvaja

    Italy, Todi, 2013

  • Mourning Ring

    England, 1820

  • Signet Ring with Double-headed Eagle

    Western Europe (Germany or Austria ?), c. 1700

  • Gold Gemstone Ring with Garnet Intaglio of a Cruciform Monogram

    Early Byzantine, c. 550-600 AD

  • Gold Ring with a Cruciform Monogram and Inscription

    Early Byzantine, c. 550-600 AD

  • Gold Ring with Personification of Constantinople

    Early Byzantine, c. 500-600 AD

  • Ring with Nine Rubies

    Probably England or Scotland, late 17th century

  • Roman Sapphire and Emerald Ring

    Late Roman (Eastern Mediterranean), c. 4th-5th century AD