Death’s head ring

Tudor death’s head ring

A rare Tudor memento mori ring, circa 1550. Such rings were a timely reminder of the importance of spiritual preparation for death and one is listed in the inventory of Henry VIII : A ring of gold with a deathes hedde. This high carat gold example has a hexagonal bezel with an engraved skull motif in the centre surrounded by the name of the deceased : Iame [James] Porlace. The ring is decorated with volutes and foliate shoulders. It is size J [US 4 and 5/8] and in completely original condition with traces of enamel intact. For similar see Plate 37 in Scarisbrick’s Tudor and Jacobean Jewellery, Charles Oman’s British Rings, plate 57 and the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum collections.