Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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POSY RING "IN LOVE ABIDE TILL DEATH DEUIDE"

England, 17th century

Gold

  • 5.500 €
  • £4,900
  • $6,500
  • POSY RING "IN LOVE ABIDE TILL DEATH DEUIDE"

    England, 17th century
    Gold
    Weight 5.2 gr; circumference 60 mm; US size 9¼; UK size S

    Taking their name from short poems that were literary exercises in Elizabethan England and much cited by Shakespeare, posies were commonplace sentiments often inscribed in rings. The present motto is recorded on other rings and also exists with variants, such as “In love abide till death devide” and “In love abide till death divide” (see Evans, 1931, p. 58).  Manuscript repertories of posies exist from the late sixteenth century on and the posy ring gradually went out of fashion only at the end of the eighteenth century.  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
    The plain hoop, flat on the interior and rounded on the exterior, is engraved on the inside with the inscription “In love abide till death deuide” in italics, followed by an unidentified maker’s mark.

    Literature
    For comparison see the British Museum (a gold posy ring engraved with the same motto, adorned with a bezel set with a ruby in an oval setting, published in Evans, 1931, p. 58 and British Museum registration number: AF.1293; a gold posy ring with the motto “In love abide till death devide,” engraved with the initials “S” and “E” from the husband and wife as well as an unidentified maker's mark, published in Evans, 1931, p. 58 and British Museum registration number AF.1295; another posy ring with the motto “In loue abide till death divide”, published in Evans, 1931, p. 58 and British Museum registration number AF.1294).

    Reference number: 351-2

  • 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.

     

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POSY RING "IN LOVE ABIDE TILL DEATH DEUIDE"

England, 17th century
Gold
Weight 5.2 gr; circumference 60 mm; US size 9¼; UK size S

USD $6,500

Taking their name from short poems that were literary exercises in Elizabethan England and much cited by Shakespeare, posies were commonplace sentiments often inscribed in rings. The present motto is recorded on other rings and also exists with variants, such as “In love abide till death devide” and “In love abide till death divide” (see Evans, 1931, p. 58).  Manuscript repertories of posies exist from the late sixteenth century on and the posy ring gradually went out of fashion only at the end of the eighteenth century.  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
The plain hoop, flat on the interior and rounded on the exterior, is engraved on the inside with the inscription “In love abide till death deuide” in italics, followed by an unidentified maker’s mark.

Literature
For comparison see the British Museum (a gold posy ring engraved with the same motto, adorned with a bezel set with a ruby in an oval setting, published in Evans, 1931, p. 58 and British Museum registration number: AF.1293; a gold posy ring with the motto “In love abide till death devide,” engraved with the initials “S” and “E” from the husband and wife as well as an unidentified maker's mark, published in Evans, 1931, p. 58 and British Museum registration number AF.1295; another posy ring with the motto “In loue abide till death divide”, published in Evans, 1931, p. 58 and British Museum registration number AF.1294).

Reference number: 351-2

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