Home > Auctions > 3rd September 2019 > Medieval Crusader's Gold 'Geoffrey Rudel de Blaye' Personal Seal Ring

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LOT 0582

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,310 - 4,420
USD ($) 3,660 - 4,880

Opening Bid
£2,700 (EUR 2,981; USD 3,297) (+bp*) Add to Watch list

Medieval Crusader's Gold 'Geoffrey Rudel de Blaye' Personal Seal Ring

1150-1170 AD

The gold personal seal ring of the famous troubadour Geoffrey Rudel de Blaye (Jaufre Rudel, born circa 1130, died circa 1147, in Tripoli) with D-section hoop and integral elliptical bezel with central carnelian intaglio; to the perimeter of the bezel, the inscription in Lombardic capitals '+RVDEL VON GORS*' in retrograde; the intaglio depicting a clean-shaven male face in profile and most probably of earlier date. 2.87 grams, 22 mm overall, 18mm internal diameter (approximate size British P 1/2, USA 8, Europe 17.75, Japan 16) (1"). Very fine condition. Unique and very important.

Property of a Wiltshire lady; acquired from these rooms 5 October 2012, lot 1284, for £4,329; formerly the property of a European gentleman living in the UK; believed found central Europe in the 1920s.

Cf. Ward, A., Cherry, J., Gere, C. & Cartlidge, B. Rings Through the Ages, Fribourg, 1981, item 134 for type.

The prince of Blaye, in Aquitaine, South-West France, Geoffrey (or Jaufre) Rudel is most famous as a troubadour and exponent of the tradition of courtly love. He was one of the first poets to develop the theme of ‘love from afar’ (amor de lonh or amour de loin); seven of his works have survived, four with music. According to his semi-fictionalised biography (vida), he fell in love with Countess Hodierna of Tripoli (in modern Lebanon), solely as a result of returning pilgrims’ reports of her beauty. Inspired by these tales, he enlisted in the Second Crusade (1147-49) and travelled to find his beloved. Falling ill en route, he was carried ashore in Tripoli, where, according to the vida, “The countess was told what had happened and she went to his bedside and took him in her arms. He knew that she was the countess and his hearing and breathing recovered, and he praised God for having let him live until he had seen her; and he died thus in her arms. And she had him buried with great honour in the house of the Temple; and afterwards, on the same day, she became a nun due to the sorrow that his death caused her” (tr. Paden, W.D. and Freeman Paden, F).

Geoffrey’s poetic but unlikely story seems to have been developed out of themes within his own poetry, and his presumed death on Crusade. A contemporary song by fellow troubadour Marcabru (fl.1130-50) describes him as ‘oltramar’ – ‘over the sea’ (XV). His tale was irresistible to nineteenth-century Romantic poets and artists, among them Robert Browning, who wrote ‘Rudel To The Lady Of Tripoli’ (1842).

The inscription 'GORS' (with retrograde 'G') possibly refers to the river port town of Velika Gorica, modern Croatia.

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Lot No. 0582

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 2nd September 2019
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

(Lots 1-660)

Auction Venue:
The Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

Auctions start 10am BST (Lunch 1.30 - 2pm)

Wednesday 4th September 2019 (Day 2)
Lots 700 – 1299 (Antiquities)
Thursday 5th September 2019 (Day 3)
Lots 1300 – 1889 (Antiquities)
Friday 6th September 2019 (Day 4)
Lots 1900 – 2499 (Antiquities)
Saturday 7th September 2019 (Day 5)
Lots 2500 – 3099 (Antiquities)
Sunday 8th September 2019 (Day 6)
Lots 3100 – 3459 (Antiquities & Natural History)
Lots 3600 - 3746 (Coins)
Monday 9th September 2019 (Day 7)
Lots 3747 - 4563 (Coins)

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