Mourning ring made for John Gray, the infant son of John and Mary (Otis) Gray, who died six days after his birth in September 1763. The ring is made of gold, with three joined enameled scrolls and large square crystal over gold foil skull set into raised, rayed mount flanked by two small round facet-cut crystals. Scrolls contain text in raised gold Roman capitals in black cloisonné enamel.: “J:GRAY OB.17.SEP.1763.AE 6D.”
Before it closes on the 31st January 2013 you must go and visit the exhibition In Death Lamented at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston – that is, if you are lucky enough to live close by!
Unfortunately we are based on the other side of the world, but I was wise enough to purchase a copy of the accompanying publication which I had to review on Amazon. I couldn’t help myself, I do that sort of thing.
Sarah Nehama I am proud to say has contributed to this blog. She is a jeweller herself and an avid collector of mourning jewellery, many pieces of hers you will see in the collection. She also authored the book. Here is a fascinating interview with her discussing mourning jewellery and items in the exhibition.
If you have seen the exhibit please let me know what you thought of it below in the comments. As a collector of mourning jewellery I would have loved to have seen it myself!
On the US version of Antiques Roadshow they appraised this lovely collection of mourning rings. Aired on April 6, 2009, click on the link and then select which video format you use. A transcript of the appraisal is also available. Very interesting!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW
A collection of mourning rings appraised on the US Antiques Roadshow April, 2009.
Mourning ring for Henry Dove. 18ct gold, London, hallmarked for the 1836/1837 period, reappropriated in 1851 and dedicated to Lieutenant Henry Dove RN.
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.
Click here to read about the Henry Dove ring.
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!
A photo of Seymour Haden from Wikipedia and the public domain.
I am re-blogging this little piece I wrote for the wonderful Art of Mourning site. Looking at my collection I can say it still sits close to my heart as one of the most touching pieces I am lucky enough to have. I hope you enjoy it too.
Sleep in Jesus: a dedication to a child, 1876.
Sleep in Jesus: a dedication to a child, 1876.
My latest blog on the fabulous Art of Mourning website. Shell symbolism in the 19th C!
19th C neo-Gothic ‘In Memory Of’ mourning pin with scallop shell motif.
Pilgrimage in a Shell: a mourning brooch | Art of Mourning.