Posy Ring “Till deathe noe change”
The interior of this posy ring bears the engraved inscription “Till deathe noe change” in italic script. Composed of a solid gold, D-section band, the ring is in good, wearable condition.
Posy rings derive their name from the French word poesie meaning poetry and are characterized by mottoes or inscriptions engraved in either prose or verse. While rings bearing amatory inscriptions date back to the late medieval period, posy rings with poetic expressions of love and affection enjoyed great popularity in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England and find mention in plays by William Shakespeare, such as in the Merchant of Venice and Hamlet (III, 2, 162: “Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring”). Posy rings were customarily exchanged between friends, relatives, and lovers, often 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.
Joan Evans records this motto on a posy ring in the British Museum, London (Evans 1931, p. 100; Dalton 1912, no. 1304, late 17th-18th century) and a variant donated by Evans “No change till death” (Evans 1961, no. 1202.48). For a history of posy rings with an extensive list of posies, see Evans 1931 and exh. cat. A Garland of Love 1907. For further information see Dalton 1912, pp. 174; Scarisbrick 2007, pp. 74; Taylor and Scarisbrick 1978; and Oman 1974, pp. 39.