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this is a work of incredible naturalism and astonishing beauty she's one of the maidens of that accompanied Center sealer on pilgrimage centres who had 11,000 virgin companions all of whom were slaughtered by the Huns according to legend and a great cult of Saint Ursula and a virgin martyrs emerges in the in the Middle Ages she's made of painted oak between his about 1,500 15-30 this one made probably in Brussels or South netherlandish and she represents an aristocratic figure this elaborate hairstyle which is braided around the top of her head with festoons of drapery and hair around the back she's absolutely a perfectly beautifully observed work of portraiture but in fact the secret that it conceals is that it was also really query so inside the head is a cavity which opens and that's where the relic of the skull of the st. would have been kept a pendant hangs around her neck and behind a window on her breast would have been a second relic possibly part of the breastbone when you look at her face she's communicating with you very direct and she's making perhaps a sympathetic responds to a prayer and puts after all the Saints were in treated to for their powers of intercession so the idea is that someone would have prayed to the saint an appeal for her help in adversity and the prayers of the saint of course carrying much greater currency with God because the Saints have proved their virtue through their martyrdom she has this very beautiful smile almost playing on her lips of all the objects in the exhibition this is one you feel might open her mouth and speak to might even move you