Posy Ring “Be true to me as I to thee”
This rhythmic posy offers the sentiment of fidelity written in a fine script and accompanied with a maker’s mark.
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.”
Fine D-sectioned hoop. Engraved on the interior in italics: “Be true to me as I to thee” followed by the maker’s mark IC in an elongated hexagonal punch with pointed cusps on either side. The ring is in excellent condition, with clear inscription and maker’s mark.
The posy is recorded in Evans (p. 26), 1931 and has documentary history. Although the maker, IC, has not been identified a number of his works can be compared in the British Museum collection. Note, for instance, no’s 1961,1202.355 and .264. The Museum of London also holds a posy with a similar mark, ref. 62.4/90. For general information on rings see Scarisbrick, Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty. London: 2007. On goldsmith marks see Dove 1986, Grimwade 1976, and Jackson 1905.