Gold ring, the oval bezel with indented border encloses a garnet cameo bust of Charles I, (1600-1649) wearing lace collar, facing three quarters towards the front. The arcaded sides of the bezel are filled with black enamel dotted with white spots, and there is a "memento mori" skull and cross bones enamelled on the back. Plain hoop with forked foliate and scrolled shoulders. Ring and cameo, English, after 1649.
This ring would have been made for a supporter of the royal House of Stuart, to express sorrow at the execution in 1649 of Charles I by the Commonwealth established by Oliver Cromwell. Since, during his last days the King conducted himself with astonishing dignity and self-possession; it also demonstrates admiration for his royal qualities. There were many such commemorative rings and pendants, but most were either medallic or miniature portraits, and not cameos or intaglios, hence the rarity of this example. The engraver was probably Thomas Rawlins (1620-1670), and the bust is derived from the portrait of the king by Anthony Van Dyck. It is an elegant evocation of seventeenth century English political history. Diana Scarisbrick