Mourning rings
A collection of 63 mourning rings sold by Fellows for £31,000.

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An extraordinary collection of 63 gold and enamel mourning rings which all relate to separate but connected individuals across the 18th and 19th centuries sold for £31,000 at Fellows (23/15% buyer’s premium) on September 30.

Included in the Fine Jewellery sale held in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, the group was assembled by Elizabeth Snaith in the Victorian period. The rings relate to family, friends and business partners, many of them members of the Anglican- Orthodox community and the wider Oxford Movement.

Individuals include the Hackney clergymen Henry Handley Norris (1771-1850) and John Watson (1767-1869) and the merchant Joshua Watson (1771-1855), who together were at the centre of the Hackney Phalanx in the early 19th century.

For 25 years at the start of the 19th century, the Hackney Phalanx was a group of Anglican High Churchmen with shared beliefs. They filled many of the higher posts of the Church of England. The Oxford Movement, initiated in the 1830s, sought to revive Roman Catholic doctrines that had previously been dropped.

The set of rings – estimated at £15,000-20,000 – was subsequently passed down through several generations and consigned to Fellows by a descendant of the Snaith family. A family tree and a list of names relating to the 63 rings accompanied the lot.

Fellows said five separate individuals were bidding on the lot via commission bids and internet platforms and it eventually sold to an online bidder via thesaleroom.com.