Posy Ring “God for me appointed thee”
This posy elegantly refers to the sanctity of love within marriage and is accompanied by a maker’s mark.
Gold hoop with D-section, engraved along the interior the inscription “God for me appointed thee” in italic script. The maker’s mark, in a rectangular punch with rounded corners inside the hoop, shows the initials ‘SR’ in Gothic letters and is yet to be identified. The ring shows signs of wear through age and is in good wearable condition.
“Posy rings,” their name deriving from the term poésie or poetry, are rings with mottoes or inscriptions on a plain gold band, either in prose or verse. Short, rhyming poems called “posies” were common from the late medieval period onwards. The custom of sending poems with small tokens of affection and of inscribing gifted articles with short verses led to the development of poetic compendia or commonplace books and collections, like Loues Garland, or Posies for Rings, Hand-Kerchers, and Gloues, and such pretty Tokens that Louers send their Loues, first published in 1624, Cupids Posies of 1674, and The Card of Courtship of 1715. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, rings with posies enjoyed great popularity. These were exchanged between friends, relatives and lovers, and 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 six variations of this posy (Evans, 1931, p. 41). For a ring with a variant of this inscription, see the British Museum (Dalton 1912, no. 1167). One of these rings belonged to the author. A further example of a ring with this inscription is in the Museum of London (inv. no. 62.4/153). It is rare to identify the maker’s mark, as the makers of jewelry were considered to be “small workers.” Their marks and names were only recorded at Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, if they also worked as silversmiths, so-called “large workers.”
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..