Goodly company of quaint souls
An enigmatic bluestocking ring, circa 1800. The outer hoop is inscribed in gold capitals on a blue enamel ground between white enamel borders : goodly company of quaint souls and inscribed to interior : Founder. From the middle of the 18th century in Britain there were a number of female literary groups who came under the umbrella of ‘Bluestockings’, referring to meetings of ladies who held ‘conversations’ of literary interest to which they invited men of letters. The term came to refer to the informal quality of the gatherings and the emphasis on conversation over fashion. They attempted to replace social evenings spent playing cards with something more intellectual. The term purportedly originated when one of the ladies, Mrs. Vesey, invited the learned Benjamin Stillingfleet to one of her parties; he declined because he lacked appropriate dress, whereupon she told him to come “in his blue stockings”—the ordinary worsted stockings he was wearing at the time. The ring is size K and 1/2 and immaculate. A fascinating, one-off little ring.