Ring (1)


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Enamelled with roses and daisies, this ring was a charming lover's gift. The little hinged panels set around the hoop open to reveal the French inscriptions: 'I love you a little, a lot, passionately and not at all', based on a game played by plucking the petals from a daisy.The language of flowers is believed to have come to Europe from the Ottoman court. Lady Mary Wortley, wife of the British ambassador to Constantinople, described the custom in a letter of 1718:

"There is no colour, no flower... that has not a verse belonging to it; and you may quarrel, reproach, or send Letters of passion, friendship, or Civility, or even of news, without ever inking your fingers."

In 1819 Louise Cortambert, writing under the pen name 'Madame Charlotte de la Tour,' wrote ‘Le Langage des Fleurs’, the first dictionary to lay out the significance of each flower. According to this, the roses on this ring symbolised love and daisies, innocence.

The idea of hinged panels was also used by the Parisian jeweller Jean Baptiste Fossin (1786-1848) who created a ring for the Duchesse de Fitz-James combining lockets of hair under panels bearing the initials of her six children.

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  • Title: Ring (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1830/1860
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: Depth: 0.6 cm, Diameter: 2 cm
  • Provenance: Given by Dame Joan Evans
  • Medium: Enamelled gold

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