Category Archive 'Timeline Auctions'

29 Feb 2016

Joan of Arc’s Ring

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JoanofArcRing

Délit d’images:

(translated freely from the French:)

The relic dating from the fifteenth century was sold for 297,600 pounds (376,833 euros –$410,361.72) to a Frenchman who wished to remain anonymous, said the spokesman for the Timeline auctions.

The opening bid was 14,000 pounds (19,051 euros — $20,746.06).

According to representatives of the auction house, Joan of Arc gave a detailed description of the ring during her interrogation at Rouen 17 March 1431. It contains the inscription Jhesus Maria and three engraved crosses.

The ring, accompanied by authentication documents, is kept in a wooden casket. After the execution of Joan, the precious object was worn by King Henry VII of England.

“The ring returns to France,” the spokesman for the auction house told reporters without revealing the name of the French citizen who acquired the relic.

The jewelery was sold by the son of Charles de Gaulle’s personal physician. Earlier, the French government had proposed to examine the possibility of buying this relic.

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Timeline Auctions, Antiquities, 25 February 2016, Lot 1220

MEDIEVAL JOAN OF ARC DEVOTIONAL RING WITH CASKET AND DOCUMENTS
15th century AD

With a published Joan of Arc association dating back over a century, exhibited twice in France in the 1950s and in the Museum of Lancashire Millennium Exhibition, January to December 2000, this ring has a silver-gilt hoop with facetted outer face, expanding shoulders and two rectangular and angled fields to the bezel; the hoop with incised niello-filled florid lozenges and triangles, the design giving the appearance of three crosses, the ends of the shoulders with blackletter ‘I’ and ‘M’ (for ‘Iesus Maria’), the lateral faces with blackletter ‘IHS’ and ‘MAR’ (as abbreviations for Jesus and Maria); a small section inserted later to the hoop, sufficient possibly to enlarge it from a band suitable for a small, feminine finger to a larger male(?) hand; the degree of wear generally evident to the ring, including to the hoop insert, suggesting an extended period of wear, long after the date of making, perhaps indicative of the ring’s appeal as a talisman; contained in an antique, small oak casket in the form of an architectural reliquary with pitched and hipped lid, the ridge surmounted by a plain cross in iron, the box red velvet-lined, with a removable rectangular holder (the compartment beneath possibly having once held a small document or label), arranged to display the bezel and purpose-made to hold the ring, indicating the reverence in which the ring was already held when the box was made for it; the ring is very unusual in that the vast majority of rings with angled rectangular bezels have them engraved with pictures of saints rather than being inscribed (generally termed as iconographic rings); inscriptions on such rings are normally on the hoop part.

Accompanied by a professional drawing showing the ring extended, with the three crosses forming part of the design to the shank clearly depicted; also with publications, documents, press cuttings and correspondence including a photocopy of the 1917 Oates privately printed catalogue; a cuttings book containing an extract from the Sotheby’s sale of 1947 (including an image of the ring), with press cuttings from such publications as the Evening Standard, Daily Telegraph and Le Figaro at the time of that sale, followed by others (some illustrated, showing both ring and casket) including from English, American and French newspapers and periodicals in the 1950s, from when the ring was exhibited in France (at La Turbie and also at Rouen and Paris); associated correspondence with the mayor of La Turbie and further referring to the 500th rehabilitation anniversary exhibition; typescript research notes and a signed note by Cyril Bunt (dated 1949) discussing Cardinal Beaufort and the ring and its descent to Lady Morrell; papers relating to two interviews with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 1953 and 1956; correspondence with the French embassy in London, shipping documents and permissions for the ring to be sent to France for exhibition; a photocopy of the last letter (with transcript) of Joan of Arc; the exhibition pamphlet for La Turbie (4 copies, 3 in English, 1 in French, 1952), the catalogue for the Jeanne d’Arc et Son Temps exhibition (Rouen and Paris, 1956); documents, including the mounted display caption, from the AD 2000 – The Story of Christianity in Lancashire exhibition at the Museum of Lancashire held in 2000; other correspondence of various dates from 1950s to 1980s regarding the ring, most of the letters with envelopes. Ring: 4.90 grams, 21mm overall, 18.27mm internal diameter (approximate size British Q, USA 8, Europe 17.49, Japan 17); casket: 127 grams total, 79 x 58 x 77mm (Ring: 3/4″ casket: 3 1/4 x 2 1/4 x 3″). Good condition; surfaces worn.

Provenance
Property of an Essex gentleman; inherited 1979 from Dr James Hasson of Harley Street, London; acquired Sotheby’s sale, 1 April 1947, lot 37; formerly in a private collection (1929-1947); previously with the F. A. Harman Oates collection (sold Sotheby’s, 20 February 1929, lot 21); earlier with Augustus John before 1914, the gift to him of Lady Ottoline Morrell; by descent, through the Cavendish-Bentinck family (Duke of Portland) from cardinal Henry Beaufort (1375-1447), who was present at the trial and execution of Joan of Arc in 1431; the ring stated by Joan at her trial to have been a gift from her parents. Supplied with a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate.

Published
Oates, F. A. H., Catalogue of Finger Rings; Brought Together by F. A. Harman Oates, privately printed, London, 1917 (36 copies only printed, including this ring, p.5, pl.2 and referring to the belief in it having belonged to Jean of Arc; a photocopy of this Catalogue accompanying this lot); Sotheby’s, sales catalogues, 20 February 1929 (lot 21) and 1 April 1947 (lot 37, ring illustrated; sale catalogue extracts of the lot description and illustration included within the cuttings book accompanying this lot); Hasson, Dr James, The Banquet of the Immortals, Poseidon Press, Edinburgh, 1948 (310 copies printed), pp.94-100 for a romanticised account of this ring and the death of Joan of Arc (extract from this work included); The Marvellous and Symbolic Story of the Ring of Jeanne d’Arc Exhibited at the Chapelle St-Jean of La Turbie, n.d (1952; English and French language versions accompanying this lot); Jeanne d’Arc et Son Temps, Paris, 1956, Commémoration du Vme Centaire de la Réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc, 1456-1956, Rouen and Paris, p.61, no.190 (original catalogue accompanying this lot). Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate.


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