Spotlight On: Ellen Savage Mourning Ring

March 29, 2010

Ellen Savage ob 16 Oct 1745 Memento Mori RingThe exceptional quality and design of this piece is relevant for its place in time. The decorations of the skeleton, hourglass, scythe and shovel were still used in the 1740s, but not to the extent as it had been. This ring is a beautiful example of evolution in its art and the style it emulates from the late 17th Century. Compare it to the style of the piece above from 1680 and the similarities are quite deep. Artwork surrounding this piece is much more detailed and not as naive as it had previously been, note the skeleton and the level of the skull’s quality. Its style, having large depictions of the evolved memento mori motifs, is quite unusual, as pieces that would have the motifs tended to be small and set under crystal.

Ellen Savage ob 16 Oct 1745 Memento Mori RingDuring the period of around 1700-1760, there was a distinct change in the style of rings, but a clear evolution from what had come before. Shanks became more delicate, some imitating scroll work in gold around the edge with enamelling over the top and an inscription over that.

To indicate pieces from this time, the shank is often a good point of reference due to their variation. The popularity of the Rococo style has a lot to do with this, the greater the delicacy and intricate form of the shank, the later into its period it becomes.

Country: England
Year: c. 1745
Dedication: Ellen Savage ob 16 Oct 1745 at 83

3 Responses to “Spotlight On: Ellen Savage Mourning Ring”

  1. astroross Says:

    Beautiful piece, love the shininess of the black and gold, very clean piece.

  2. Tom Says:

    What an incredible piece of art! And to think I never would have seen it if it wasn’t for the AoM blog!

    Do you think/know if this is handmade? The craftsmanship is so impressive I find it hard to believe it was made by human hands!


  3. Certainly hand made and unique, I doubt many (or any more) of these were produced. Also note that the symbolism was becoming anachronistic (if our society wasn’t always 20 years retrospective and a bit more progressive on moving forward, think of it as someone wearing flared pants and a ruffled dinner shirt to an expensive dinner party).


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