Memento Mori Skeletal Ring
Plump, substantial, fine quality high carat gold memento mori hoop, dated 1725. This type of mourning ring is known as a skeletal, as a full skeleton on a ground of black enamel encircles the outer hoop, along with other emblems of mortality – an hourglass, a gravedigger’s pick and shovel and crossed bones. Such ornamentation echoes that used on the title pages of funeral sermons during the 18th century. The ring is inscribed to interior : M Metcalfe obt. 26 May 1725 aet 61 and it has a maker’s mark. The ring is size O [US 7] and the hoop is just over 1/8 of an inch wide. It is in amazingly pristine condition with original enamel intact. For parallel examples see Plate 288 in Scarisbrick’s Historic Rings and the British Museum, Ashmolean Museum and V & A Museum ring collections.