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Home > Auctions > 4th June 2024 > 'The Witham on the Hill' Medieval Gold 'The Beautiful Game' Posy Ring with Matched Pairs of Flowers

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LOT 0339

Estimate
GBP (£) 2,500 - 3,500
EUR (€) 2,940 - 4,110
USD ($) 3,190 - 4,460

Opening Bid
£1,250 (EUR 1,468; USD 1,593) (+bp*)

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Bids: 0
'THE WITHAM ON THE HILL' MEDIEVAL GOLD 'THE BEAUTIFUL GAME' POSY RING WITH MATCHED PAIRS OF FLOWERS
CIRCA 1400-1500 A.D.
5/8 in. (1.68 grams, 16.92 mm overall, 15.39 mm internal diameter (approximate size British I 1/2, USA 4 1/2, Europe 8.07, Japan 7)).

Flat-section straightened hoop with incised blackletter text 'le belle ie[u]' translating to 'the beautiful game' with interposed flowers and stalks.

PROVENANCE:
Found whilst searching with a metal detector near Witham on the Hill, South Kesteven, Lincolnshire, UK, on Sunday 9th January 2022, by Mark Bowen.

Accompanied by a copy of the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) report no.CAM-D675E8.
Accompanied by a copy of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Treasure receipt and and disclaimed with Treasure case tracking no.2022T153.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by a search certificate number no.12139-214843.

LITERATURE:
Cf. Hindman. S. et al., Toward an Art History of Medieval Rings: A Private Collection, London, 2007, item 26, for similar script on an English gold ring; see Jones, M., 'The Beautiful Game - Courtly Love posies in Anglo-Norman inscribed on jewellery and seals', in The Journal of the British Archaeological Society (forthcoming), for inscription.

FOOTNOTES:
The final word of the inscription is ie for ie[u], an Anglo-Norman spelling of modern French jeu ‘game’. The game in question is, of course,
love (not football!). The ‘game’ of love here is what we now refer to as Courtly Love (amour courtois, fin amor) and the phrase ‘beautiful game’ is also found on another ring recorded on the PAS database as YORYM-0A0FD2, the whole, a rhyming couplet, reading AMIE EN VV/ [E]ST MA VIE BELE GIEV [Beloved, in you my life is a beautiful game].

CONDITION