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Ref  EWC4   Catherine Wordsworth Mourning Ring

A gold mourning ring dated 1812, commemorating the short life of Catherine Wordsworth [1808-1812], the fourth child of the poet William Wordsworth and his wife Mary. Wordsworth's sonnet, Surprised By Joy was composed about Catherine after her death.  The child was also the inspiration for his lesser known poem, Characteristics of a Child Three Years Old. It is now thought that Catherine suffered from Down's Syndrome, but as this was not identified as a medical condition until 1866, the Wordsworth family simply saw Catherine as a lovely and somewhat unsual child.

The tapering engraved gold shank supports a sepia and watercolour miniature of an angel reading a book of poetry. The miniature is finely executed and set under crystal. The interior of the ring shank is inscribed : Catherine Wordsworth Ob 4 June 1812. It is size M [US 6] and the miniature measures 1 and 1/4 inches by 3/4 of an inch. Extremely fine miniature painting, the whole in immaculate condition.

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