BAGUE "MEMENTO MORI"
En jonc d’or jaune amati biseauté, centrée de trois cercles figurant une vanité sur fond d’émail noir entre deux diamants sertis clos.
TDD : 59-60, US : 9 (modifiable).
Poids : 3,7 g (14k – 585/1000).
A 14K gold and enamel Memento Mori ring. Circa 1623.
Provenance : Trouvée en 2014 à Tarrant Launceston en Angleterre sur les terres de la famille Harvey et accompagnée d’une petite chevalière marquée des initiales HW, cette bague aurait appartenue à William Harvey of Tarrant décédé en 1623 à l’âge
de 21 ans. Le thème du Memento Mori, développé depuis l’Antiquité, symbole de la précarité de la vie et de la vanité de ses richesses et de ses plaisirs se développe dans l’iconographie européenne surtout à partir du XVIème siècle, mêlant à la fois préceptes
moraux et religieux, prônant le détachement des biens et plaisirs de ce monde et la crainte du jugement dernier. La mode s’en empare et les gens portent sur eux ce symbole sous forme de bagues, de montres et de bijoux.
A gold ring with keeled hoop and expanding shoulders, the bezel formed of three discoids, two with inset diamonds, the central one with a skull on a black enamelled background. The inside of the ring is plain
The ring weighs 3.74 grams
18-20mm internal diameter, UK size Q; US size 8
The ring shank is very slightly distended, but otherwise in extremely fine condition.
Provenance: The provenance is originating from the estate of William Harvey of Tarrent Launceston in 1600AD. It was found in 2014, along with a signet ring signed HW and traced to William Harvey of Tarrent who died aged 21 in 1623. It is probable that this was a personal ring issued as a Momento Mori at the death of a relative or parent. The Harvey family were important landowners in Tarrant Launceston in the river Tarrant valley of Dorset all the way up to the late 1700s.
The ring was found in Launceston in 2014 and disclaimed as Treasure by the crown under treasure reference 2014 T520
Memento Mori are an enduring tradition in Western European culture. These works of art, sometimes small and beautiful, sometimes imposing and magnificent, served and serve as a reminder that all humans, no matter their differences, will one day die. It is believed that the practice originates in Ancient Rome. When victorious generals returned home from war and were given glorious parades in their honour, it is said that one slave would always walk behind the general, saying, “Respice post te. Hominem te memento,” roughly translating to ‘Look to what comes after you. Remember you are just a man.’ In the Middle Ages, this idea resurfaced and was used in a Christian context to remind churchgoers that the afterlife awaited them. Church walls were adorned with elaborate memento mori art with paintings of skeletons and skulls, often showing kings, priests and peasants all being led by the hand by Death, demonstrating that no one was immune from the effects of time. Memento mori primarily had a moral and religious purpose: to remind its owner or viewer that the afterlife awaited, and to not be overly attached to material pleasures, in light of the prospect of divine judgment.
Memento mori became especially popular in the 16th century, and people began carrying their own personal memento mori everywhere in the form of pocket watches, lockets and jewellery.