- Museum number
Finger-ring; silver; nude male figure almost in the round on scroll pattern on each shoulder; octagonal bezel with sunken surface containing shield of arms: gules, on a chief, argent three scallops.
- Production date
Diameter: 2.40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
See 'The Belle Epoch of French Jewellery 1850 -1910', London 1990, the English edition of the catalogue of the exhibition of.1989: 'Pariser Schmuck vom zweiten Kaiserreich zur Belle Epoque', Munich, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum,
In the English edition of this book, Judy Rudoe refers to this piece in her article 'Francois-Desire Froment-Meurice and Jules Wiese, collaborators', ps.43-52 (fig 8).
This is no. 211 in the Londesborough Collection catalogue. Crofton Croker describes it as, 'Doubtful Ring. Silver, the face gilt. Armorial bearings engraved. Purchased in Paris by Lord Londesborough, 1852. It is only remarkable for the artistic character of the design.'
This ring is illustrated in the catalogue.
Text from Ward, Cherry et al, 'The Ring from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century,' London 1981, pl. 288.
This ring, which was designed by F.D. Froment-Meurice from models by the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Klagmann, was bought in Paris in 1852 by Lord Londesborough, who thought it was of Renaissance origin. In the Londesborough catalgue, of 1853, it was already recognised as of dubious authenticity, and from then on it features in contemporary publications as 'modern French', although other versions were illustrated by Henri Vever in his monumental work on the French jewellery of the nineteenth century. It is curious to note how easily and quickly revivalist jewellery of the period can easily lose its identity, no matter how celebrated the designer.
This finger-ring was purchased by Lord Londesborough for his wife in Paris in 1852 as a Renaissance work. A year later, however, in the catalogue of Lady Londesborough's collection the ring was described as doubtful. It was later acquired by A. W. Franks, and entered the British Museum in the Franks Bequest in 1897 as 'modern French'. It is only in recent years that it has been recognised as identical to a ring by the celebrated firm of F-D. Froment-Meurice (1802-55), aptly described by Victor Hugo as 'the Cellini of nineteenth century goldsmithing', exhibited along with other 'bijoux renaissances' in Paris in 1844. At the Great Exhibition in London of 1851 Froment-Meurice won a prize medal and his jewels were widely illustrated in both French and English journals. In such circumstances it seems extraordinary that this ring could be passed off as sixteenth century. To a modern eye the modelling of the figures and the form of the bezel, with its armorial bearings, are indisputably nineteenth
century. It is interesting to note that the idea of flanking figures derives from fanciful designs for rings such as those engraved by Pierre Woeriot in the late sixteenth century. Renaissance pattern-books were probably more widely used as inspiration both for revivalist jewellers and forgers than actual surviving pieces.
Literature: T. Crofton Croker, 'Catalogue of a collection of ancient and medieval Rings and Personal Ornaments formed for Lady Londesborough', privately printed 1853, no. 211; H. Vever, 'La Bijouterie Française au XIXe Siècle', I, Paris 1906, 180.
- On display (G47/dc10)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Londesborough Collection no. 211