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Lovers' brooch

 

Diameter: 3.800 cm

Bequeathed by Sir A.W. Franks

M&ME AF.2683

Room 40: Medieval Europe

    Lovers' brooch

    Medieval, 13th century AD
    From England

    This gold ring brooch is set alternately with cabochon rubies and sapphires. The pin is set with a sapphire. The spaces between the gems are decorated with punched crosses and letters in Lombardic script. The reverse of the brooch carries an inscription (in abbreviated French) for the benefit of the wearer, 'io sui ici en liu dami amo' ('I am here in place of a friend love'), indicating that the brooch is likely to have been an expensive love token. Items of jewellery with sentimental inscriptions were often exchanged between wealthy lovers in the medieval period.

    J. Alexander and P. Binski, Age of chivalry: art in Planta (Royal Academy, London, 1987)

    J. Cherry, Medieval decorative art (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)

    J. Robinson, Masterpieces: Medieval Art (London, British Museum Press, 2008)

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    On display: Room 40: Medieval Europe