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finger-ring / cameo

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Finger-ring; gold; hoop chased with scrolls and foliage in relief; high bezel crossed beneath by two pearled bands and containing oval cameo in onyx with portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.

  • Date

    • 1575-1600 (both ring and cameo)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 1 inches
    • Weight: 95 grains
  • Curator's comments

    Text from Dalton 1912, Catalogue of Finger Rings:
    Nos. 1359-75 are Stuart rings worn by adherents of the royal house of that name.
    Cf. also Gentleman's magazine, Sept., 1788, p. 769; July and Sept., 1823.
    Stuart lockets were also worn (ibid., 1791, pp. 401, 618, 814)'.

    Text from Dalton 1915, Catalogue of Engraved Gems:
    Mounted in a contemporary gold ring.

    According to the Braybrooke catalogue 'A cameo portrait of Queen Elizabeth, by Valerio Vicentini, on a sardonyx of three strata, in a fine gold setting of the period; hoop, three eighth's-of-an-inch high, by five-sixth's wide; a good and characteristic likeness. Purchased at the Herz (sic) sale - 72grs." Vicentini however died 12 years before Elizabeth' I's accession. The gem engraver is unknown.
    The Hertz sale was February 1859. The wood engraving by R B Utting for the Braybrooke catalogue was used in Dalton.
    John Evelyn records in his Diary in 1654 that John Lanier was then wearing a ring with a cameo portrait of Elizabeth I. One of around 30 cameo portraits made c1570-1603 and given as marks of royal favour and worn as symbols of allegience.


  • Bibliography

    • Dalton 1912 1358 bibliographic details
    • Doran 2003 198a bibliographic details
    • Dalton 1915 380 bibliographic details
    • Somers Cocks 1980 43 bibliographic details
    • Braybrooke 1873 no. 229 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G46/dc6/s2/p1/no17

  • Exhibition history

    2003 1 May-15 Sept, London, National Maritime Museum, Elizabeth I

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: MCN6119

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