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Prayer bead: MAR.M.262-1912

An image of Prayer bead

Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

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Object information


Uncertain Unknown (Woodworker)


Carved pearwood prayer nut or prayer bead, with silver mounts.

Carved pearwood, with silver mounts. The two hemispherical parts are hinged together and fastened with a silver clasp. The outsides are carved with pierced 'flamboyant' tracery, and both ends have a silver mount and ring. The inside surfaces have minute figure carvings: one is of the Virgin, seated, holding the Child on her left knee with her left hand and offering a fruit with her right hand. Her hair reaches down to her waist. The edge of the little roundel is cusped. The other carving is of St Cecilia seated on the right playing an organ, set obliquely to the picture plane, and pumped by an angel on the left. St Cecilia's hair falls in ringlets to her waist.


History note: Unknown before testator

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 4 cm
Length: 4.3 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


Early 16th Century
Circa 1500 CE - 1525 CE


Probably Flanders. Possibly from a rosary

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Mounts: composed of silver

Materials used in production

or sandalwood Pearwood

Techniques used in production

Carving : Pearwood, carved, with silver mounts

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.M.262-1912
Primary reference Number: 30045
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 10 December 2020 Last processed: Friday 21 May 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Prayer bead" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-07-28 00:51:34

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{{cite web|url=|title=Prayer bead|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-07-28 00:51:34|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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