Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mastery of Design: Queen Charlotte's Finger Ring, c. 1810

Finger Ring
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
via The Royal Collection Trust
Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

I SWEAR that I wrote about this ring before, about three years ago, but I can find NO evidence that I have.  So, I'm going to now.  It's very curious, too, because it's a ring that I see several times a week when I'm sorting through the images from The Royal Collection and it's a ring that pleases me quite a lot.  Perhaps I just like it so much I imagine I've written about it.

Anyway.  The above is just more evidence that I'll be 40 in a few weeks and that by the time I'm fifty, I'll have no memory left at all.

Let's look at this pretty thing.

The ring of gold is set with a cushion-cut diamond.  The mount and shoulders are chased with foliage.

This ring was a favorite of Queen Charlotte, the consort of King George III.  She wore it often, referring to it as her diamond "finger ring."  Upon the death of Queen Charlotte, it's believed that the ring (which dates to about 1810) was bequeathed to Princess Sophia who passed it on to Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester; by whom given to Queen Victoria.  That's one theory of how the ring ended up in Victoria's possession.  

Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester, as I mentioned, gave this ring to her niece Queen Victoria in 1849.  This much is certain because Victoria's Journal tells us so.

The Duchess of Gloucester had tirelessly attended Queen Charlotte during the Queen Consort's final illness at Kew in 1818.   The Duchess wrote that she had...

witnessed sufferings I can never describe, and I trust, we shall never forget, the Example she gave us of fortitude, & mildness, & every virtue, always trying to keep from us her anguish, & putting on a cheerful face when we came into her room, & receiving any little care & attention with pleasure.
It's entirely possible that during this period, Queen Charlotte presented this ring, along with a few other choice jewels to the Duchess, who, in turn gave them to Queen Victoria several years later.

But, what of the Princess Sophia whom I mentioned above?

The Royal Collection suggests, "The ring may, alternatively, have passed into the collection of Princess Sophia, and thence to Princess Mary, who had presented certain items from her sister’s estate to Queen Victoria in 1848."

In the end, it doesn't really matter.  It's a terribly pretty piece and one that I wouldn't mind trying on.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection

No comments: