revelation, and, weighed down by remorse for the death of Essex, she expired a few weeks later.
recently this historic Essex ring has found its way to the
auction-room, and to judge from the price it brought, the purchaser
must have been convinced of the truth of the legend concerning it, as
its merely artistic qualities—which are in no wise remarkable— and the
fact that it is incidentally a product of sixteenth century art would
scarcely suffice to justify the amount paid for it. The sale took place
at Christie's in London, on May 18, 1911, and after spirited bidding
the ring was adjudged for $17,060. A firm of dealers in antiquities
were the nominal purchasers, but they are said to have acted for Lord
Michelson of Hollingly, a baron in the lately overthrown Kingdom of
Portugal, and the senior partner in the firm of Stern Bros., of London.
This ring is stated to have been bequeathed by mother to daughter in a
long line of Essex's descendants, beginning with his daughter Lady
Francis Devereux. Finally it came to Louisa, daughter of John, Earl of
Greville, and wife of Thomas Thyme, second Viscount Weymouth and
great-grandfather of the late owner.
Some authorities do not think that the story of the Essex ring has a satisfactory historical foundation.50 It
first appears in a book published about 1650 and entitled " History of
the most renowned Queen Elizabeth and her great Favourite, the Earl of
Essex. In Two Parts. A Romance." In 1658 Francis Osborn repeats it in
his " Traditional Mémoires of Elizabeth." It was even treated
dramatically by John Banks (fl. 1696) in his play " The Unhappy
Favourite." Certain later writers claim to have learned of it through
50 See Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xiv, London, 1888, pp. 437, 438; in Sir Sidney Lee's article on Essex.