Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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POSY x I x LIKE x MY x CHOYCE x

England, 17th century

Gold

  • 6.300 €
  • £5,400
  • $7,000
  • POSY x I x LIKE x MY x CHOYCE x

    England, 17th century
    Gold
    Weight: 4.4 g.; circumference: 57.6 mm.; size: US 8.25, UK Q

    Posy rings take their name from the French for poetry, poesie, and were as popular gifts exchanged between lovers, friends, and even family members. Often inscribed with individual verses, the majority display commonplace sentiments, like the present ring. Manuscript repertories of posies exist from the late sixteenth century. Although the posy ring gradually went out of fashion at the end of the eighteenth century it recently has found renewed appeal. Unlike black letters rings, posy rings included the inscription “always next to the finger, not to be seen of him that holdeth thee by the hand.”

    Description
    Substantial D-section hoop. The interior is inscribed in majuscule: x I x LIKE x MY x CHOYCE x. The ring is in excellent condition; there is no maker’s mark.

    Literature
    The inscription is found in several variations in Evans (1931). The verse was very popular and constitutes part of the poesie: “My love is fixt, I will not range. I like my choyce too well to change” (Jones, p. 399), a motto which also appeared on garters, memorials and even convicts’ love tokens. For more on posy rings see Bury 1985, the collection at the British Museum (Oman, 1974), and Taylor and Scarisbrick 1978

    Reference number: 345-3

  • 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 x I x LIKE x MY x CHOYCE x

England, 17th century
Gold
Weight: 4.4 g.; circumference: 57.6 mm.; size: US 8.25, UK Q

USD $7,000

Posy rings take their name from the French for poetry, poesie, and were as popular gifts exchanged between lovers, friends, and even family members. Often inscribed with individual verses, the majority display commonplace sentiments, like the present ring. Manuscript repertories of posies exist from the late sixteenth century. Although the posy ring gradually went out of fashion at the end of the eighteenth century it recently has found renewed appeal. Unlike black letters rings, posy rings included the inscription “always next to the finger, not to be seen of him that holdeth thee by the hand.”

Description
Substantial D-section hoop. The interior is inscribed in majuscule: x I x LIKE x MY x CHOYCE x. The ring is in excellent condition; there is no maker’s mark.

Literature
The inscription is found in several variations in Evans (1931). The verse was very popular and constitutes part of the poesie: “My love is fixt, I will not range. I like my choyce too well to change” (Jones, p. 399), a motto which also appeared on garters, memorials and even convicts’ love tokens. For more on posy rings see Bury 1985, the collection at the British Museum (Oman, 1974), and Taylor and Scarisbrick 1978

Reference number: 345-3

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