Place of origin:
France (probably, made)
England, Great Britain (possibly, made)
ca. 1400 (made)
Materials and Techniques:
86-1899 (V&A Museum, London)
This heart-shaped brooch with its romantic inscription was given as a token of love. It would have been used to fasten a tunic, gown or cloak. Gold was the most costly of metals, generally used only by royalty and the nobility. It is inscribed and would have formerly been enamelled on the reverse in French, in black letter script, ‘Ourselves and all things at your whim’ (‘Nostre et tout ditz a vostre desier’). The design on the front of the brooch, possibly stylised leaves and flowers or feathers, would also have been colourfully enamelled.
Ring brooches often fastened garments with a slit at the neck. Both men and women used them. They first pulled the fabric through the ring. They then pushed the pin horizontally through the fabric. When they pulled the fabric back through the ring, it held the pin in place.