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British Silver Memento Mori Ring

Featuring a death’s head surrounded by a clock dial. The shank is picked out in flowers, symbolic of vanitas and the brevity of life, with poppies on the shoulders, associated with death and rebirth since Classical antiquity. The back of the shank bears the Latin legend, Mors Certa, Hora Incerta, (Death is certain, uncertain its hour.) Maker’s mark within.

Late Elizabethan to Stuart, late 16th –17th Century

Height: 14 mm. (0 9/16 in.)

Width: 23 mm (0 15/16 in.) 25 mm. (1 in.)

internal diam.: 18.68 mm.

U.S. ring size: 8.5 wt: 10g.


Ex: British Private collection

Antiquarium; Ancient Treasures XX. (London, 2022) p.51

The British Museum, London mus. nos. AF.1521; AF1519; AF1522; 1874,0718.41

The British Museum, London mus. nos. for ring shape: M.216-1975; 713-1871; 711-1871

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