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A M Clarke Enamelled Mourning Ring

A M Clarke Enamelled Mourning Ring
anna maria price clarke portrait

A gorgeous antique mourning band dating to 1817; a collector's piece in fabulous condition, which because of the detail it holds and it's prestigious origin we are able to find out a little more background information. 

Mourning rings were often given to close friends and family (sometimes written as gifts into a will), and these precious jewels could be a comfort to the bereaved and an outward display of their mourning or loss.  

The ring commemorates Anna Maria Catherine Price-Clarke, the Gothic 18ct Gold lettering around the band reading 'A.M.C. ORMONDE'Ormonde being the title which she took on her marriage. Inside the band is touchingly hand engraved 'Died 19 Dec 1817 Aged 27'

This ring is a custom made piece, (an expression of the esteem in which this lady was held and the station of her family) which would have been ordered after the death of Anna Maria and perhaps would perhaps have been worn briefly by her husband (who died just a few years later in 1820) or even her father as it is a gent's size. 

In wonderful as new condition, a fabulous piece for a collector, we believe it has been held in a collection which was over the years released for sale along with pieces from the Estate of the Castle which was their family seat. 

sutton hall

Anna Maria Catherine Price-Clarke was born in 1789 into a wealthy family and growing up at Sutton Hall, Derbyshire located on the fringes of the Peak District she led a privileged lifestyle. As only daughter and heiress of Job Hart Price and his wife Sarah, Anna’s inheritance on her marriage composed enormous wealth and extensive lands in England including Sutton Hall, Chilcote Hall, Somersall Hall and the Manor of Ulcombe in Kent.

walter butler

And at the age of sixteen in 1805 and on St Patrick's Day, Anna married Walter Butler (1770-1820), 1st Marquess of Ormonde and 19 years her senior, at Exmouth in Devon. Walter was an Irish peer and politician who between 1789 and 1796, sat for Kilkenny County in the Irish House of Commons. The wealth that Anna brought to the marriage added to the extensive Ormonde Estates in Ireland, including their family seat; Kilkenny Castle, Kilcash Castle, Ormond Castle in Carrick-on-Suir and Roscrea Castles, and she was styled Countess of Ormonde on her marriage, later Marchioness Ormonde. The portraits shown here are companion pieces painted by Sir William Beechey on the event of their marriage and they continue to rest in Kilkenny Castle. 

ormonde arms

Walter was said to have been an extravagant spender, moving in the fashionable circle of the Prince Regent, (later George IV). It is said that partly to sustain his extravagant lifestyle, Walter gave up his hereditary right to the grant of the prisage of the wines of Ireland for an enormous sum of money. The Right of Prisage (Levy on Wine Imports) for Ireland, which was granted to the Butlers (Earls of Ormond), in 1319 was bought out by the British Government after the Act of Union 1800 for £216,000 (c €20 million).

Sadly, their married life lasted just twelve years as Anna died on 19th December 1817 at Belsize House in Hampstead (one of her inherited properties), as reported in the Scots Magazine: 'The most noble the Marchioness of Ormonde... in the 28th year of her age.' 

Walter survived her by just three years as he died on 10 Aug 1820 at Ulcombe Place in Kent aged 50 and as he had no children, the Marquisate became extinct; the Earldom of Ormonde, however, devolved upon his brother James Wandesford Butler, who subsequently became first Marquess of Ormonde in the peerage of the United Kingdom. 

Read further Ormonde genealogy here.