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    Sale 7731

    Centuries of Style: Silver, European Ceramics, Portrait Miniatures and Gold Boxes

    2 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 188

    FOUR GOLD MEMORIAL RINGS FOR CHARLES I, CHARLES II AND WILLIAM III

    BRITISH, 17TH AND 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    FOUR GOLD MEMORIAL RINGS FOR CHARLES I, CHARLES II AND WILLIAM III
    BRITISH, 17TH AND 18TH CENTURY
    An 18th Century gold lady's ring with oval bezel, mounted with a 17th Century enamel portrait miniature depicting King Charles I (1600-1649), in black doublet, wearing the blue moiré sash of the Order of the Garter, the glazed portrait within a table-cut amethyst border; together with an 18th Century gold gentleman's ring, the oval bezel mounted with a portrait miniature on vellum depicting King William III (1650-1702), in Garter Robes, wearing the Order of the Garter; together with an 18th Century gold gentleman's ring with oval scalloped bezel, mounted with an adapted 17th Century portrait miniature on vellum slide depicting King William III, in armour, wearing the blue moiré sash of the Order of the Garter, two skulls in the background, blue enamel reverse; together with a 17th Century gold lady's ring, the horizontal oval bezel set with an enamel miniature depicting King Charles I, wearing the blue moiré sash of the Order of Garter, King Charles II (1630-1685), wearing the blue moiré sash of the Order of the Garter, and Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), the reverse with enamelled skull between a willow and cypress tree, black enamelled skulls on the sides of the bezel
    the oval miniatures, 3/8 in. (9 mm.) to ¾ in. (19 mm.) high (4)


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    Another 17th Century memorial ring set with a miniature depicting the head of Charles II between those of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, the reverse of which is enamelled with a skull, crown and 'C.R.' is in the British Museum's Collection (O.M. Dalton, Catalogue of the finger rings, early Christian, Byzantine, Teutonic, mediaeval and later, bequeathed by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, K. C. B., in which are included the other rings of the same periods in the museum, London, 1912, p. 197, pl. XIX, no. 1367).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Triple portrait ring: Christie's, London, 20 February 1973, lot 150.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM THE LATE DR WILLIAM LINDSAY GORDON COLLECTION

    Portrait miniatures of Charles I, Charles II, and William III set in rings and mounted in pendants during the 17th and 18th Centuries remain fascinating symbols of Royalist and Parliamentarian loyalties during the period.
    17th Century: Royal Compensation to Civil War Commemoration
    In the years preceding the Civil War, rings, lockets and slides set with portrait miniatures of Charles I were distributed by Henrietta Maria as compensation for those who lent money to the Royalist cause. In the aftermath of the King's execution in 1649, these political tokens gained further significance for his supporters, as both an expression of sorrow and of hopes for the restoration of the monarchy under the future Charles II (D. Scarisbrick, Rings, Jewellery of Love and Loyalty, London, 2007, p. 188). During the Restoration, Charles II continued to employ miniaturists as a powerful propagandist tool by commissioning portraits, which he distributed as royal awards (C. Oman, British Rings 800-1914, London, 1974, p. 66).
    18th Century: Hanoverian Politics and Hereditary Rights
    Many 17th Century miniatures were passed through the generations and remounted in the 18th Century by Jacobites, who continued to wear rings and pendants set with portraits of Stuart monarchs as badges of political loyalty. The image of Charles I, with his eyes turned towards the heavens against a celestial blue ground resonated particularly with Jacobites who lamented the martyred King's death; while miniatures of William III were popular with those loyal to the Protestant accession (D. Scarisbrick, op. cit., pp. 190-191). In the aftermath of the uprisings of 1715 and 1745, these pendants and rings continued to be worn by Tories as a declaration of support for the hereditary rights of the Crown (D. Scarisbrick, Historic Rings: Four Thousand Years Craftsmanship, London, 2004, p. 117). In their artistry and varied history these commemorative objects thus encapsulate both a tradition of royal image-making and of political debate.