Mourning Ring for William Haynes Artist: Unknown
Honorand: William Haynes, American, 1758–1785


American Paintings and Sculpture

Not on view

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.”


Watercolor on ivory


1/2 × 3/8 in. (1.3 × 1 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. John Hill Morgan

Accession Number



18th century


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 records is ongoing.



Mrs. John Hill Morgan; gift 1940 to YUAG.
  • 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.
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

finger rings, miniatures (paintings), mourning rings






Inscribed in gold letters within continuous band of black enamel on outside of ring: WILLM [M is raised and underlined] HAYNES [bullet] OB : 19 [bullet] MAR : 1785 [bullet] AET : 27", all in Roman capitals.

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