Monday, October 14, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The Captain Newman-Newman Ring, 1811

Mourning Ring
Made in Honor of Captain Newman-Newman
Britain, 1811
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This handsome piece of jewelry commemorates a tragic naval event.  In 1811, as senior captain in the Baltic fleet, Captain Newman-Newman was ordered to escort home the ships: The St George , The Defence, and The Cressy. In a gale off Jutland, Newman’s ship, The Hero, went aground and was lost with Newman-Newman and all but 12 of her ship's crew.  A similar fate befell the “St George” and the “Cressy.”

This tragedy was the greatest shipwreck disaster ever known on the west-coast of Jutland and was a serious loss for Royal Navy which is remembered to this day. A century and a quarter  years after the event, the Danish press took the initiative to raise a memorial stone to commemorate the disaster.  The stone was unveiled at a ceremony in 1937 and still stands on the Thorsminde Tongue facing the position where the “St George” was lost.

This gold ring is actually a piece of mourning jewelry in honor of the disaster.
 The ring is enameled in black, white, red and blue with an oval bezel with the Union jack surrounded by a serpent. The piece, made in England in 1811—just after the tragedy--is inscribed on the reverse:

 Captn. James Newman Newman lost off the Haak in the Hero 74. Dec. 24, 1811, aged 46.


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