ashmolean

Finger Ring Collection

Browse Collection

5 of 436

First Ring

Previous Ring

Return to
Introduction

Return to
Gallery

Return to
All Online Collections

Next Ring

Last Ring

Click to hide image

Click to hide image

'Iconographic' ring

England

Early? 15th century

Gold iconographic ring, the double bezel engraved with figures of the Virgin and Child and St. Christopher, the hoop engraved with sprays of roses on the shoulders

20.27 mm internal ring diameter; 4.02 g weight

Bought in London

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F586

Scarisbrick and Henig, Finger Rings, 2003, pl. 12.4

'Iconographic' ring: Termed ‘iconographic’ by Victorian collectors, this group of rings is apparently unique to England. The rings are silver or gold (occasionally latten) and engraved on the bezel or shoulders with devotional images or saints. They came into use in the fourteenth century, lasting until the Reformation and, apparent from many inscriptions, a popular New Year gift. The generally repetitive nature of the group suggests they were more likely made for stock as opposed to individually commissioned. Each saint was believed to protect the wearer against various misadventures.