Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Neo-Gothic Figural Ring by Louis Wièse

Paris, c. 1895

Gold

  • 26.800 €
  • £23,100
  • $30,000
  • Neo-Gothic Figural Ring by Louis Wièse

    Paris, c. 1895
    Gold
    Weight 7.4 gr.; circumference 53.16 mm.; US size 6.5; UK size N

    In the nineteenth century, Revivalist styles looking back to Antiquity and the Gothic and Renaissance periods were highly fashionable. Goldsmiths were in awe of the fine craftsmanship and techniques used by their early ancestors and took pride in imitating these to perfection. In 1880 Louis Wièse (1852-1925) took over the workshop from his father Jules Wièse (1818 -1890) who was greatly celebrated and ranked in 1855 at the Paris Exhibition “among the most prominent and meritorious fabricants of France.” Louis, like his father, created jewelry in the Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance style but was also drawn to archaeological finds from the Greek and Roman period for inspiration. The female figure playing the lute goes back to Renaissance images with the personification of Music, one of the seven Liberal Arts. The lute was also among the attributes of Saint Cecilia. The ring with its foliate design is a splendid example of superb craftsmanship and the fine art of chasing for which Louis was renowned.

    Description:
    Ring made of cast and chased gold with a plain hoop on the interior, and fluted on the exterior forks towards the foliated shoulder. This supports an oval bezel with sculptural figure of a woman playing a lute in a multi-lobed surround with Gothic tracery and trefoil ornaments.  On the underside of the bezel is the maker’s mark “WIESE” for Louis Wièse which was in use from 1890-1925. The ring is in excellent wearable condition.

    Published:
    Beatriz Chadour-Sampson and Sandra Hindman, Rings around the World, 2016, p. 199.

    Literature:
    Jewelry made by Louis Wièse is found in major collections such as the Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris; Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the British Museum, London. Cf. Michael Koch (ed.), Pariser Schmuck: Vom Zweiten Kaiserreich zur Belle Epoque (exhibition catalogue), Munich 1989, pp. 94-109; Silke Hellmuth, Jules Wièse und sein Atelier. Goldschmiedekunst des 19. Jahrhunderts in Paris, Berlin 2014, pp. 92-100.  Henri Vever, a contemporary jeweler in Paris who in 1904-6 published a compendium of French nineteenth-century jewelry (Vever 2001, p. 1013) described Louis Wièse as a most talented artist.

    Reference number: 819

  • Hoop

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

    Bezel

    The upper, protruding part of a finger ring (excluding the hoop and the shoulders) often set with a gemstone.

  • Later

    It is virtually impossible to do justice to the evolution of jewelry from the Baroque period (c. 1700) to Modern times in a short synopsis, but these are a few highlights. Many of the functional aspects of finger-rings continued: they served for betrothal and marriage, for signing and family identification, for memorial purposes, as well as for pure ornament. However, some new types of rings emerge during this period: such as puzzle rings, gimmick rings, perfume rings, and rings that celebrated scientific achievements (e.g., watch rings) are but a few of the examples.

    This time span witnesses the emergence of the “archaeological style,” of which the work of Fortunato Pio Castellani in the 1830s to 1860s is a particularly well-known example, one that fits in the Neo-Classical period. We see the flourishing of other styles related to artistic movements in painting, sculpture, and architecture. These include Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement, both beginning around the 1880s, and Art Deco in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. It also covers the emergence of some of the most famous twentieth-century houses of jewelry, such as Cartier, Charmet, Boucheron, Bulgari, Tiffany’s, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Mellerio, to mention only a few. Jewelry historians responsible for exhibitions in major museums have begun to trace the historical contributions and characterize the styles of jewelry, including rings, not only of these different artistic movements, but also of these great houses.

    Two other sometimes-overlapping categories of later jewelry are of significant import. The first category, “artist jewelry,” consists of jewelry by artists mostly known for their work in other media, such as Picasso, Calder, Dali, Robert Indiana, Louise Bourgeois, Yves Klein, Anish Kapoor, and many others. The second category, “studio jewelry” includes work by modern and contemporary goldsmiths. Among those practicing today of special mention are Wendy Ramshaw and others belonging to the Goldsmith’s Company in London, dedicated to continuing the craft since it received its first royal charter in 1327. Others of different national origins include the Italian Giovanni Corvaja (handled by Adrian Sassoon in London), the American Joel Arthur Rosenthal or JAR of Paris (whose international exhibition was staged at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2013), Otto Jakob of Germany, and the newcomer Wallace Chan of China. The experienced viewer-collector, as well as the newcomer to the field, can begin to learn about modern jewelry at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with its dedicated jewelry gallery and specialized curator, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which houses the William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, and the private collection of Alice and Louis Koch.

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Neo-Gothic Figural Ring by Louis Wièse

Paris, c. 1895
Gold
Weight 7.4 gr.; circumference 53.16 mm.; US size 6.5; UK size N

USD $30,000

In the nineteenth century, Revivalist styles looking back to Antiquity and the Gothic and Renaissance periods were highly fashionable. Goldsmiths were in awe of the fine craftsmanship and techniques used by their early ancestors and took pride in imitating these to perfection. In 1880 Louis Wièse (1852-1925) took over the workshop from his father Jules Wièse (1818 -1890) who was greatly celebrated and ranked in 1855 at the Paris Exhibition “among the most prominent and meritorious fabricants of France.” Louis, like his father, created jewelry in the Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance style but was also drawn to archaeological finds from the Greek and Roman period for inspiration. The female figure playing the lute goes back to Renaissance images with the personification of Music, one of the seven Liberal Arts. The lute was also among the attributes of Saint Cecilia. The ring with its foliate design is a splendid example of superb craftsmanship and the fine art of chasing for which Louis was renowned.

Description:
Ring made of cast and chased gold with a plain hoop on the interior, and fluted on the exterior forks towards the foliated shoulder. This supports an oval bezel with sculptural figure of a woman playing a lute in a multi-lobed surround with Gothic tracery and trefoil ornaments.  On the underside of the bezel is the maker’s mark “WIESE” for Louis Wièse which was in use from 1890-1925. The ring is in excellent wearable condition.

Published:
Beatriz Chadour-Sampson and Sandra Hindman, Rings around the World, 2016, p. 199.

Literature:
Jewelry made by Louis Wièse is found in major collections such as the Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris; Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the British Museum, London. Cf. Michael Koch (ed.), Pariser Schmuck: Vom Zweiten Kaiserreich zur Belle Epoque (exhibition catalogue), Munich 1989, pp. 94-109; Silke Hellmuth, Jules Wièse und sein Atelier. Goldschmiedekunst des 19. Jahrhunderts in Paris, Berlin 2014, pp. 92-100.  Henri Vever, a contemporary jeweler in Paris who in 1904-6 published a compendium of French nineteenth-century jewelry (Vever 2001, p. 1013) described Louis Wièse as a most talented artist.

Reference number: 819

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