This ring has been in my collection for only a few years. The unique aesthetic character of the ring appealed to me, but it wasn’t until Hayden Peters wrote this analysis of it that I understood what I was responding to. I hope you enjoy Hayden’s article from his Art of Mourning site.
From the Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Leslie Stephen and published in 1888 we learn: The Doves are a Surrey family, with generations serving in the Navy. Lieutenant Henry Dove RN was married to Christiana Paterson, who gave birth to their son Patrick Edward Dove (1815 – 1873)a “philosophic writer”of some renown on the 31 July 1815 in Lasswade, near Edinburgh. An ancestor of Henry Dove was William, son of Thomas Dove, bishop of Peterborough. They had been settled in Devonshire since 1716 when Francis Dove, Commodore RNwas appointed Commissioner of the Navy in Plymouth.
Henry Dove retired from active service upon the peace of 1815, and held an appointment at Deal connected with the Cinque Ports. Henry Dove did not allow his son Patrick Edward to “follow his own ardent desire for naval service.” Instead, Patrick Edward went on to be educated in France and England but was expelled from school after leading a “rebellion” against the headmaster. Patrick Edward went on to study farming in Scotland and philosophy! Although there seems to be more information available about his son rather than Henry Dove, it still builds a portrait of a family. Upon Patrick Edward’s death a Professor J. S. Blackie wrote: “he combined in a remarkable degree the manly directness of the man of action with the fine speculation of the man of thought. Altogether, Mr Dove dwells in my mind as one of the most perfect types of the manly thinker whom I have met in the course of a long life.” And when Patrick Edward died in 1873 he left behind a widow, and 3 of Henry’s grandchildren – a son and two daughters. Fortunately we have an image of a portrait of Henry Dove which appears in Hayden’s article above. However, there is also somewhere out there a portrait of Henry’s son – a “sketch by his friend Mr Seymour Haden”. I presume this is likely to be Francis Seymour Haden, prominent surgeon and etcher, who married the sister of the artist James Whistler. How extraordinarily interesting!