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A mysterious gold Merovingian ring dating from the onset of the middle ages, ca. 400 to 600, is among the medieval treasures included in , a special loan exhibition In honor of the retirement of medievalist Professor Barbara Watkinson. The ring’s diamond shaped bezel is inset with blue and green glass and set off by a cabochon garnet on all four corners (lent by the Kathleen Durdin collection). The Merovingian kings in Gaul were suppressed by Charlemagne, but their fame as a ‘realm of the rings’ survives even today in legends and literature. Guest curated by William and Mary senior Laura Conte, showcases the brilliance of almost 1500 years of western European craftsmanship. Most of the twenty pieces in the exhibition have been generously lent to the Muscarelle from the outstanding collections of the John and Mable Ringling Museum and by several private collectors. Western European liturgical objects, including an accumulation of gilt and illustrated leaves from medieval collections of antiphonals, known as ‘call and response’ chant books. Two leaves from an early Renaissance Book of Hours open a window onto the courtly life in Paris in the 1400’s. Executed by a skilled painter close to the esteemed Coetivy Master, these gilt and hand-painted vellum pages are illuminated with images of dancing devils and virtuous angels surrounded by glorious carpets of ornate filigree and foliage (lent by the Ronald R. McCarty collection). In praise of this beautiful show of rarities, Dr. Aaron De Groft, Muscarelle Director, said, “Imagine how the gold on the pages of an illuminated manuscript or the prayers in a Book of Hours shimmered and danced in the candlelight of a pre-electric age, helping worshipers to feel the presence of the divine.” The Muscarelle Museum of Art is located on Jamestown Road on the campus of The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Museum is closed on Mondays. Docent tours are available at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sundays, and other times as announced. Admission to the Museum for this exhibition is $15.00. Admission is free for Museum members, The College of William & Mary faculty, staff, and students, and children under twelve. For more information about this exhibit or the Museum in general, please call 757-221-2700 or visit www.wm.edu/muscarelle.