Mourning Rings: The Packe Family

Lots 200, 201, and 202, are wonderful examples of mourning rings. Worn in memory of someone who has died, this type of ring dates to the 14th century but continued in popularity – particularly into the Georgian era. Inscribed with the name of the deceased, rings such as these are a charming way of persevering connection and memory, and in some cases, they become interesting illustrations of social history.

Lot 201 and 202 are of interest as they are dedicated to Charles James Packe (1726-1816) and his daughter Mrs Charlotte Hanbury (1762-1815). Charlotte and her father were the fifth generation of the Packe family to inherit Prestwold Hall, an impressive estate in Leicestershire. The estate has been in the ownership of the Packe family since 1650 and continues to be to this day. In the 1760s Packe began an impressive building project in the house as he rebuilt the hall and then created the park around it, both of which you can visit today. Lot 201 is inscribed with his name, and Lot 200 is dedicated to his second wife Cath Packe. We can presume that these rings were made in their memory and were passed on to their children.

Lot 202 is dedicated to Charlotte Hanbury. Although not much is known about her life aside from her impressive heritage, there a few items that hint at her character. As seen, The British Museum possesses a portrait of her and the Royal Collection Trust holds a selection of artwork she produced. Undoubtedly inspired by the large park and its ‘wild garden’ that her father built on the grounds of Prestwold Hall, she favoured botanical subjects and is now best known for the paintings of flowers and plants that she left behind. The images are vibrant and delicate, a testament to her skill.

About the Packe Family…

Not only did Charles, Cath and Charlotte boast an interesting family history, but the relatives that came after them were equally as impressive. Charlotte was the great aunt of another Charles Packe (1826-1896), an explorer who travelled around the Pyrenees and the Alps. He also published a book entitled A Guide to the Pyrenees, and discovered several plants that were native to the land.

Mourning rings such as our lots preserve local and family history. While the people behind the names may become shadowy figures, leaving buildings and paintings, their names continue to be passed down in items such as these rings.

Mourning Rings at Auction…

A Georgian mourning ring

Lot 200

A Georgian 22ct gold black enamel mourning ring, for Catherine Packe.

Estimate:  £260  –  £360

A Georgian mourning ring

Lot 201

A Georgian 22ct gold black and white enamel mourning ring, for Charles James Packe.

Estimate:  £200  –  £300

A Georgian mourning ring

Lot 202

A Georgian 22ct gold black enamel mourning ring, for Mrs Charlotte Hanbury.

Estimate:  £200  –  £300

Auction Details

Jewellery | Day One – Tuesday 14th March 2023

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Monday 13th March 10:00 – 16:00

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Cordelia Porter | BA (Hons), MRes

Cordelia Porter

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