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Mourning Ring with Miniature Portrait

1971.340 (RS8442)


Gold ring set with circular miniature painting on ivory of a woman in classical dress leaning on an urn.


This ring memorializes Josiah Quincy Jr. (1744-1775), who died at the age of thirty-one at sea on his way back from pleading the patriots' cause in England. The ring was probably commissioned by a close family member after his death, or possibly even by Josiah himself. The inscription reads “Oh! Save My Country,” which were purportedly Josiah's last words. According to a biography of Josiah Quincy Jr. that was probably written by his granddaughter, Eliza Susan Quincy. Josiah's father, Colonel Josiah Quincy, wore this ring throughout his life, and in his will, dated 1784, it is mentioned: 'I bequeath to my grandson, Josiah Quincy, my mourning ring, given me by his dear father, wishing the motto engraved upon it may never be forgotten or neglected by him.'. The ring is now on display at the Quincy House in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Band: "JOSIAH QUINCY Jun Esq 26 Ob. Apr. 1775 AE. 31" Back:" "Oh! Save / My / Country"" Bezel: We're his Last" (Engraved)
gold (metal)
ivory (tooth component)
Object type
Ceremonial Artifacts; Funerary Objects
Descriptive terms
gold (metal)
ivory (tooth component)
miniatures (paintings)
mourning rings
Ornament, Mourning
Ring, Mourning
People and organizations
Quincy, Josiah, 1744-1775
9/16 (W), 13/16 (diameter) (inches)
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Edmund Quincy
Exhibition Notes
"Jewelry at Historic New England," Online exhibit presented by Historic New England launched September 30, 2007 at
Reference Notes
For more information on mourning jewelry see Bury, Shirley, "Jewellery, 1789-1910," v. 2 (1991): 657-710; Deutsch, Davida Tenebaum, "Jewelry for mourning, love, and fancy, 1770-1830," "The Magazine Antiques" (April 1999): 566-575; Fales, Martha Gandy, "Jewelry in America, 1600-1900," (1995): 23-31.
Related Items
Title Mourning Ring Accession number 1971.332 Notes Jewelry and related items donated by Edmund Quincy:
Title Mourning Ring Accession number 1971.333
Title Mourning Brooch Accession number 1971.334
Title Mourning Brooch Accession number 1971.338
Title Mourning Ring Accession number 1971.339
Title Mourning Ring Accession number 1971.340