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Description

"Posy rings," their name deriving from the term poésie or poetry, have mottoes or inscriptions on a plain gold band. In many instances the message was concealed inside the hoop and its content only known to the wearer and giver. These "posies" were common from the late medieval period onwards, serving as literary exercises and formalized expressions of sentiment. Posies on rings found great popularity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and were exchanged between friends, relatives, and lovers, as well as at betrothals and wedding ceremonies. The tradition is very British and their use as a marriage ring became particularly popular during the Commonwealth under the rule of Oliver Cromwell and his son (1649-1653 and 1659-1660) when the ascendancy of the Puritans in England discouraged any extravagant displays of luxury through wedding rings adorned with enamel and gemstones, as was otherwise fashionable. The inscription here alluding to Christ uniting the couple makes it likely the ring was given during a wedding ceremony.

A wide gold band with D-section and inside the engraved inscription "Knit in one by Christ alone". The ring shows signs of wear through age and is in good wearable condition.

Literature:

Joan Evans records several variations of the motto (Evans 1931, p. 65). The same inscription appears on a posy ring in the British Museum (Dalton 1912, no. 1227, inv. no. AF 1308) as well as on two rings in the Museum of London (inv. nos. 62.4/134 and 62.4/167). See also Kunz 1917, p. 240. 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.

R-712

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