Reader, prepare for eternity
A very fine quality and substantial 18th century mourning ring to commemorate the brief life of Ralph Allen Warburton, the only son of Bishop Warburton.
With reference to the promising youth, Bishop Warburton was asked by a friend to what profession he meant to breed his son. He said if he found him a lad of very good parts he should make him a Lawyer; if but mediocre he should bring him up a Physician; but if he proved a very dull fellow he should put him to the Church. [Prior’s Life of Malone page 445].
Sadly none of this was to be. The young scholar who was studying law at Cambridge died of consumption [tuberculosis] in 1775 at the age of 19, to the inexpressible grief of his father. The Bishop, being then in the decline of his faculties, never recovered from this shock. The high carat gold ring contains a weave of hair under crystal within a surround inscribed in gold Roman capitals on a white enamel ground : Regardez et souvenez – ‘Look and remember’. The hoop is inscribed with the young man’s name. The use of white enamel denotes the unmarried status of the deceased.
The epitaph on the young man’s tomb at Claverton reads : Near this place lie the remains of RALPH ALLEN WARBURTON He was a youth eminently distinguished for goodness of heart, elegance of manners and gracefulness of person, How transient are human endowments! How vain are human hopes! Reader, prepare for eternity.
The ring is size M [US 6] and the head of the ring measures 3/4 of an inch by 2/3 of an inch. It is in fine and original condition. Such an elegant, poignant mourning ring.