A very rare late Georgian gold and enamel ring, made in memory of Lord Byron after his death in 1824, is set to come under the hammer at Tennants Auctioneers, Leyburn, in the Summer Fine Art Sale on Saturday 21 July.
There are only two other known similar examples of memorial rings of this type, all made by Charles Rawlings of London; one is now in the Pforzheimer Collection in the New York Public Library, the other was sold at auction in 2013. Contemporary accounts suggest that they were created for Byron’s family and close friends
The ring on offer comes by descent, reputedly, from the contents of Newstead Abbey, Byron’s ancestral Nottinghamshire home.
Byron sold the Abbey and its contents to his old school friend, Colonel Thomas Wildman, in 1818, who subsequently sold the Abbey to Mr William Frederick Webb in 1861.
The ring is composed of 18 carat gold, with black enamelling to a central plaque inscribed ‘Byron’ under a coronet, with further gold script reading ‘In Memory Of’ and engraved inside with ‘Died 19 April 1824, Aged 36’.
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (1788-1824) – the notorious poet, peer and politician – was the subject of cult-like worship amongst the English upper classes.
Known for his aristocratic eccentricities and excesses, the Romantic poet rose to fame after the publication of ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’ – the poetic tale of a young aristocrat’s travels in Europe.
Following a spell living in Italy, a disastrous marriage and divorce and a scandalous affair, Byron went to the Mediterranean to fight for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire, where he died from an infection aged just 36.
There is always huge interest in anything connected with this charismatic figure.
Last year Tennants sold the collar of Byron’s favourite Newfoundland ‘Boatswain’ for a staggering £14,000, against an estimate of £3,000-£5,000 after highly competitive bidding.
This ring also holds an initial auction estimate of £3,000-£5,000 plus premium and is also expected to create quite a stir.
Also on offer in the sale is a stunning array of furniture spanning four centuries, including a lovely and original early 17th century oak livery cupboard with holly wood parquetry inlay, which was sourced through the Harrogate branch.
Strongly admired by the famous antiques expert and aficionado Arthur Negus, who included it in one of his radio broadcasts in the 1970s, this rare example of English furniture will be offered with an estimate of £5,000-£7,000 plus premium.
Also on offer will be ceramics and works of art from around the world, glass including 18th century Dutch engraved examples once part of the Bradford Collection, jewellery and watches to entice and delight, silver from Britain and the continent, clocks of all shapes and sizes, 20th century Design including the Tennants’ renowned offering of Mouseman furniture, beautiful rugs and carpets galore and, of course, important art to tempt the eye.
For further details please visit the www.tennants.co.uk website or contact us on 01423 531661.