Lot 1. Fede Ring, Anglo-Norman, circa 1300. Estimate 4,000 — 6,000 GBP. Lot sold 9,375 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's
gold, set with a sapphire and a ruby - ring size: J½ - exterior diameter: 20mm., ¾in.
Provenance: Sotheby’s, London, 15 December 1999, lot 116;
with David S. Lavender Ltd, London, United Kingdom;
private collection, United Kingdom
Note: The conical granulated and leaf encrusted bezel on this ring are characteristics of Anglo-Norman jewellery. For such settings see the rings in the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. no. 816-1902) and the British Museum (inv. no. AF.1887), as well as a brooch also in the V&A (inv. no. M.530-1910), all dated to c.1300. As regards granulation, see the ring brooch, dated c.1300, from the Erfurt treasure (C.Descatoire (ed), Treasures of the Black Death, exh. cat. Wallace Collection, London, 2009, p. 81, no 30b). For rings with a similar pairing of gems within conical settings, note that in the British Museum (inv. no. AF.873) and a ring sold in these rooms on 8 July 2011, lot 31. Fede rings from this period are extremely rare - the bezel could be rotated as appropriate to either display the clasped hands, signifying the bond of love and trust, or to display the precious stones with their symbolism and amuletic properties. The sapphire associated with the heavenly realm and the ruby dignity, the light of Christ, and the warmth of the lovers hearts. For other fede rings from this period, see the 13th-century example in the British Museum (inv. no. 1980,1202.1), and an emerald/ruby ring, c.1350, published in S. Hindman, Toward an Art History of Medieval Rings: A Private Collection, no. 22.
Sotheby's. Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art Including Highlights from the Reinhold Hofstätter Collection, London, 06 Dec 2016