Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu (4 September 2018)

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Date of Auction: 4th September 2018


Estimate: £5,000 - £7,000

A 15th century gold posy ring, the pyramidal bezel with square vacant setting, the tapered shoulders and shank engraved with sprigs of foliage, flowerheads and scallop shells, with traces of dark and light enamel remaining, the interior of the band inscribed ‘En vous ma fie’, ’my faith/fidelity is to you (alone)’, in black letter script, ring size L. £5000-7000

Condition Report

The original stone is lacking. There is a small old repair to the inside of the shank at the back of the bezel - this might be original, when the bezel was attached, it appears to pre-date the inscription. The engraved shoulders are well done, traces of enamel survive the the detail at the botton of both shoulders. The inscription is clear and legible. Band width at the front 6mm. Weight 4gm.


This ring was discovered in the late 1970s and has been declared and disclaimed as treasure. It is recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme, ref: LIN-1DAADC, and is accompanied by relevant paperwork.

The tradition of posy rings, rings bearing a short amatory inscription, given or exchanged as tokens of love and promise, carried through from the early 15th century until the introduction of compulsory hallmarking of wedding bands in the 19th century. The use of black letter script is associated with the earliest examples, but was no longer fashionable by the middle of the 16th century. During the medieval period these ‘posies’ were usually written in French, the language of courtly love. The posies would have been appreciated by the educated and literate classes of medieval society who commissioned and exchanged them. The more conventional designs are band rings, with the gem set examples, such as this, being much rarer.