Mary Queen of Scots alabaster devotional figure, mid 16th century & later
Mary Queen of Scots ‘Nottingham Alabaster’ devotional figure, shown kneeling with hands clasped in prayer, a prayer book open on the cloth covered plinth before her, a censor hanging from a chain at her waist; a small dog added to her right.
mid 16th century & later
37cm high, 30cm wide
Restorations include: head, cushion, dog. Otherwise good condition with some wear.
An extraordinary figure, with its origins in the mid-16th century. The beautifully carved figure with long elegant hands is typical of English Elizabethan carving of the mid 16th century, and the dress details conform to this dating. The stone is the famous ‘Nottingham Alabaster’, a translucent gypsum rock with impurities that give it a slightly honey tone. Quarried in several locations in the UK, it was used extensively from the 14th – 16th centuries, predominantly for religious sculpture for churches and chapels.
This would have been the location for this finely carved panel, where the subject would have been a wealthy benefactor of the church it was placed in, and so is shown kneeling with a prayer book before her.
HOWEVER: on closer examination, the head and the dog, and the cushion beneath are revealed as replacements – every aspect that points to ‘Queen Mary of Scots’ and her dog is actually a Victorian restoration…