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The Blairs Jewel (Mary Queen of Scots Miniature Reliquary)

Photo credit: Blairs Museum

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Notes

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This small miniature portrait of Mary Queen of Scots celebrates Mary as Martyr and has been remounted as a reliquary, probably in the early 17th century. The portrait is surrounded by relics of female saints, their names inscribed in gold lettering around the outer edge.

The original miniature is believed to have been painted from life during Mary’s imprisonment in England and may, like the Blairs Memorial Portrait, be associated with Elizabeth Curle.

The reverse of the miniature features Mary Queen of Scots’ monogram. An inscription on the back lists the names of eighteen Catholic saints and martyrs popularised during the Counter-Reformation.

Blairs Museum

Aberdeen

Title

The Blairs Jewel (Mary Queen of Scots Miniature Reliquary)

Date

1567–1587

Medium

watercolour, wood & bone

Measurements

H 8 x W 6 cm

Accession number

T9109

Work type

Mixed media & collage

Inscription description

Inscription around the portrait: 'Maria Stuart Scotiae Regina Martyrio affecta 1586 20 Septembris in Anglia'

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Blairs Museum

South Deeside Road, Blairs, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire AB12 5YQ Scotland

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