This miniature carved likeness of Elizabeth I is a fine example of the cameo portraits worn by the queenÂ’s courtiers as a sign of their taste, patriotism and proximity to the monarch.

Its handsome setting on an enamelled gold band is a rare survival. The ring was bought by Kenneth Snowman in 1960 and placed on loan to the V&A in 1975, soon after his friend Roy Strong became director. The ring is now presented to the V&A by SnowmanÂ’s son Nicholas as a record of this friendship and of his familyÂ’s long connection with the museum.


Loria collection (sold Sotheby's 1953); Desmoni collection (sold Sotheby's 1960)

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