Ossianic gold: an enhanced object biography of a Viking Age or Late Norse finger-ring from the Isle of Jura in the collection of Glasgow Museums
Isle of Jura; Inner Hebrides; Scotland; UK
Early medieval, Medieval
A Viking Age or Late Norse gold finger-ring in Glasgow Museums (A.1979.19), previously thought to have been found in the Isle of Skye, is here identified with a ring said to have been found in the Isle of Jura in 1869 (together with another, now lost). This identification is based on an illustration published in 1875 by the ring’s then owner, the Rev Dr P H Waddell (1816–91). Waddell’s use of the ring as a piece of evidence in his attempts to prove the authenticity of James Macpherson’s Ossianic poems is discussed. The ring subsequently passed into the possession of the Austrian Countess Vincent Baillet de Latour (d 1942), who had developed an interest in the archaeology of Skye during her first marriage to Norman Macleod of Macleod (d 1895). Focusing on the ring as a collector’s possession, the paper takes a biographical approach, following its trajectory from antiquarian discovery to museum object.
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