This is a fine example of its type, retaining traces of original bright-painted decoration, and may well have belonged to William Cecil, Lord Burghley. It was certainly at Burghley in 1688, when the famous Inventory records it in “Lady Exeter’s Ante Roome” as “the Virgin Mary with our Saviour in armes in Allablaster.”
The figure has long been considered to be either Flemish or German, but expert opinion is now that it is, in fact, English, and from Nottingham. The alabaster contains the reddish veining typical of the fauld mines in the Midlands and the reverse of the sculpture is consistent with English alabaster sculpture.
Height 43.2cm, width 28cm, depth 19cm.