The Hobbit Ring put on Show
“One Ring to rule them all. One Ring to find them. One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness, bind them”. Yes, my precious! The ring that may have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien's One Ring - the Ring that features in The Hobbit, the one that triggers the plot and is central to the story in The Lord of the Rings, is on display.
The tales from Middle Earth may have been the result of J.R.R. Tolkien's fascination with a real-life cursed ring story. Accordingly, The Lord of the Rings author was researching the story of the curse of a Roman ring for two years before writing Bilbo Baggins tale.
A very odd gold ring glitters on a revolving stand in what was once the housekeeper's office of a Tudor mansion in Hampshire. In chapter five of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins finds a ring in the darkness of Gollum's cave. This ring was exceptional. “One very beautiful thing, very beautiful, very wonderful. He had a ring, a golden ring, a precious ring.”
A new exhibition at The Vyne explores the possibility that a Roman ring found at an archeological site in Silchester inspired Tolkien to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
There's more to the story than the ring: an iron/age site with ancient mine workings known as “the Dwarf's Hill”, a Roman tablet inscribed with a curse on the man who stole it, and a strong link to Tolkien himself.
Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford and he certainly knew the story of the curse and the ring. Two years before he began work on The Hobbit, Tolkien was researching the subject on the Roman Ring.
The ring is now on display with a first edition of The Hobbit and a copy of the curse. The exhibition also contains memorabilia from The Tolkien's Society's own archive, children's resources and dressing up clothes.