Seals of the Jacobite Rebellion
As a recent newcomer to the series Outlander (I know we're rather late to the party), we've become interested in Jacobite jewelry. In one of the early episodes of Season 2, we see Claire, the main protagonist, looking for a ring from her beloved, Jaime, which appears to have lost its center stone, and later in the same season we see the same ring on Jamie's finger. So as antique jewelry lovers, it got us wondering what sort of ring it might be. After much sleuthing and screen pausing it appears to be a silver signet ring with the Fraser family crest (a stag), and a completely different ring to the one Claire has that is now missing a stone. Either way, we were thinking that the ring Jamie wears was a Jacobite ring - the sort worn somewhat clandestinely during the 1700's to show one's allegiance to the Jacobite Rebellion, Bonnie Prince Charles, and the desire to reinstate a Stuart to the throne of England and Scotland. So, we did what any other antiques geek would do, a deep dive into all things Jacobite. In our research we uncovered several fascinating intaglios that we hope you find as interesting as we do!
Turno Tempus Erit OR For Turnus There Will Come A Time
This special ring features a Sardonyx stone with beautiful white stripe running across the center of the seal itself. A rose in bloom with a rosebud - symbolizing dethroned King James (open rose) and his son Prince Charlie (rosebud) - with the motto Turno Tempus Erit or For Turnus there will come a time. A rather obscure reference but this appears to have been taken from the Xth book of Virgils Aeneid. Turnus had killed Aeneas' friend, Pallas. Later when Aeneas overcame Turnus, the King of the Rutuli, in battle, he was about to spare his life, however he noticed that Turnus was wearing Pallas' gold sword belt. He was so incensed that he killed him in retribution. This motto and story shows the classical ideas which the 18th century Jacobites placed themselves under. Seeing the cause as such an important and God-given right, in this case Turnus represents the Hanoverian Duke of Cumberland, their foe in many battles, and the Stuarts as Aeneas. Although a motto rarely seen, it is also recorded on a Jacobite wine glass within the Drambuie Collection. A gorgeous and historic seal nonetheless!
This beautiful citrine seal has the motto Redii (probably a variation on 'ready') above an image of another open blooming rose with two rosebuds - symbolizing both Prince Charlie and his brother, Henry - along with a thistle, the flower and symbol of Scotland. This would have been a very discreet way of showing one's allegiance to the return of a House of Stuart reign.
The Rose Thats Like The Snaw (Snow)
This gorgeous bloodstone signet ring depicts an open blooming rose, with the motto, The Rose That's Like the Snaw (snow)' - a line from a Robert Burns poem, waxing prosaic about the Scottish white rose, which was the symbol of the House of Stuart. So simple, so subtle, and by reciting a line of a Burns' poem, nobody could assume it also did double duty as a secret sign that the owner was a Bonnie Prince Charlie sympathizer. How clever!
Je Ne Change Que'n Mourant / I Do Not Change Except in Death
This carnelian seal proclaims its owner is steadfast and loyal. Not necessarily used only during the Jacobite period, this sentiment is thought to be another possible Jacobite seal, which again, is subtle enough that one could not assume its owner was a Jacobite, but with a few well-placed questions that could surely be determined!
Seal of James Francis Edward (aka James VIII and III)
Last but not least, we have a gold seal bearing the portrait of James Francis Edward, aka James VIII and III, the father of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Surely a more robust and blunt declaration of allegiance to returning a Stuart to the throne, but a beautiful seal nonetheless. The owner must have been someone who would not be afraid to declare his loyalties to someone other than King George.
We do hope you've enjoyed this brief romp through Jacobite seals. If you know of other examples of seals of this period, we'd love to hear about that in the comments section, cheers!