Charles I Mourning Ring. Circa 17th century AD. Gold, 4.5 grams, ring size K. An exceptional piece of mourning jewellery made in memory of Charles I. The ring is formed of a D-sectioned band and oval bezel. The band with areas of black enamel intact and engraved on the inside with the verse, 'Martye populi' (peoples martyr). The bezel has a beautifully executed enamel portrait of Charles I on a lilac ground, the underside has a small skull and the date, Jan. 30 1648 on a field of black enamel.
The ring is part of a series of mourning jewellery which was made to commemorate the death of Charles after he was beheaded. Some of these pieces were commissioned by Charles himself whilst awaiting his death, to be given to loved ones and loyal supporters, and it is known that he divided his personal jewels amongst his children when they paid him their final visit. The tiny portrait on the bezel, skilfully hand painted in enamel, was almost certainly copied from Charles I with M. de St. Antoine by Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck (1633). This masterpiece of oil on canvas depicts Charles I as a knight on horseback, wearing gleaming armour. Over 12 feet tall, it remains in the Royal Collection and currently hangs in Buckingham Palace.
During the 17th century the new year began in March, December 1648 was followed by January 1648, and many contemporary memorials (including his coffin) record the date of Charles’ death as 1648.
Ref: Cf. M.Dalton. p.195-197 nos. 1359-1365, C.Oman, pls 79,80, D.Scarisbrick. p.102-103, see also Christie's, Rings from Antiquity to the Present Day, 5 October 1988, lot 369, and Christie’s, 9th October 2012, including the Jurgen Abeler collection of rings, lot 343, for similar rings. Ex. Christies of London. 25th February 1997, Christies 14th September 2016, From the collection of David Gainsborough Roberts. Condition report: good- some enamel losses particularly to shank
Realised Price: £9400