15th century ring found with metal detector could bring £30,000
A 15th century ring discovered with a metal detector in Leicestershire could bring £30,000 at auction this week.
The Sotheby's Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art sale on July 9 will offer the gold ring, set with a diamond and a ruby as a symbol of love or the bond of marriage.
The ring, described as "an early and exceptionally lavish example of its kind", features engraved sprigs on the partially enamelled shoulders which are typical of a goldsmith’s work in fifteenth-century England.
The important ring was discovered in 2013, buried near Launde Abbey in East Norton. The Elizabethan manor house had once been used as a large and wealthy Augustinian Priory, before it came under the watchful eye of Henry VIII's advisor Thomas Cromwell during his dissolution of the monasteries around Britain.
He decided the claim the house for himself, but was executed in 1540 before he could move in, and the house passed to his son Gregory and his wife Elizabeth Seymour, the sister of Henry VIII’s third wife Jane Seymour.
“The movement of wealthy patrons around a major monastery, the violence with which the rich institution must have taken for the Crown, and the importance of the subsequent inhabitants are all reasons for a ring of this significance to have been deposited in its vicinity,” said Erik Bijzet, Sotheby’s Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art specialist.
The ring is expected to sell for £20,000-£30,000, and is one of several pieces of 15th century jewellery to be offered in the sale. Further highlights include an English Saint Christopher ring, circa 1500, estimated at £3,000-£5,000; a 15th century German pendant featuring Saint Anne and the Virgin and Child, valued at £3,000-£5,000; and a late 15th century pendant from the Netherlands, featuring a cameo of St. Veronica, priced at £2,500-£3,500.
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