18th c Georgian Mourning Ring 1763

A mid-18th century mourning ring, the shank stylized with ribbon-like cartouches, interconnected to bear the following inlaid inscription: Leond Blagdon OB: 7 May 1763 Æ: 77. Leonard Blagdon, according to The History of Tiverton, was twice the mayor of Tiverton (Devon, UK). Typical for the 18th century, the ring face reverse features a ribbed rosette butt. The shoulder areas are accented with fleur-de-lis, an ornament often seen in 18th century rococo design and, in the context of mourning, likely symbolised lilies growing from the tears of Mary at the foot of Jesus’ cross. The shank and setting are further decorated with scroll-like extensions; the curling, swirling contours are a hallmark of 18th century rococo design, which abandoned harsh edges in favor of fluid curves to extend a sense of infinite movement. The inclusion of a foiled amethyst for the ring face is also quite typical for mourning rings of the period: purple is tied to the Christian faith, being the color of ecclesiastical robes; it is also an accepted color for third-stage mourning. Rings of this design, with its rococo ribbon-like shank, is unique to the period between 1740-1770s. Its time-consuming and complicated craftsmanship requirements may have contributed to the lack of subsequent revivals after a more simplistic neoclassical style took over by 1800. For a similar mourning ring, also with an 1763 inscription and set with half-mourning amethyst, refer to British Museum AF.1700.

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