Mourning Ring

about 1795

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Catalogue Raisonné

Buhler, 1972, No. 278


Other (Overall): 1.9cm (3/4in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gold, crystal, and human hair

Not On View


Americas, Jewelry



Elliptical gold bezel with script LCW over braided hair. The loop tapers and is engraved: Levi Willard, died July 11, 1795 aged 48. Inside on the back of the bezel is engraved: Catherine / Willard, / died Jany. 10. 1791. / aged 56. The ring has been resized and there is a solder line visible on the inside as well as outside in front of the J in July.


"Levi Willard, died July 11, 1775 aged 48" in tapering loop engraved script. Inside on back of bezel "Catherine Willard died Jany 10.1791 aged 56."


About 1795, family of Levi and Catherine Willard; descended in the family to Maria Potter Codman by 1902; inherited by her niece Martha Catherine Codman Karolik 1902; collection of Maxim Karolik by 1964; to MFA June 8, 1964, bequest.

Notes (from Buhler 1972, cat. 278): "The initials are those of Levi and Catherine Willard, and the style of the ring suggests the date of her death. Winthrop Chandlers's portraits of the Willards are in the M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth Century American Arts, and their daughter Katharine married John Amory."

*Levi Willard died 1775, error in engraving; see data file" (from card)

"My great great grandfather- M.C.C." (from data file)

Credit Line

Bequest of Maxim Karolik