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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Artist: Unknown
Honorand: William Haynes, American, 1758–1785

Mourning Ring for William Haynes

1785

Watercolor on ivory

1/2 × 3/8 in. (1.3 × 1 cm)
Gift of Mrs. John Hill Morgan
1940.551
This mourning ring contains an ivory oval decorated with a small classical urn. The boughs of a weeping willow curve sympathetically over the funerary monument. The artist who created this miniature watercolor painting added tiny pieces of chopped hair to the ground and the tree, creating texture and powerful sentiment. The hair likely belonged to the deceased, William Haynes, and its presence transforms a generalized object of mourning into one imbued with personal significance. The exterior of the ring band features a ground of black enamel with a raised gold inscription that reads “Willm Haynes. OB: 19 Mar. 1785. AET:27.”
Geography: 
Made in United States
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Miniatures - Jewelry
Provenance: 

Mrs. John Hill Morgan; gift 1940 to YUAG.

Bibliography: 

Kathryn C. Buhler and Graham Hood, American Silver in the Yale University Art Gallery, 2 vols. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1970), vol. 1, p. 311, no. 531.

Peter J. Bohan, American Gold, 1700–1860, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1963), 45, no. 117.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.