Carved stones collection

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Grave-slab of Prioress Anna MacLean

Anna MacLean was the prioress of Iona Nunnery in the early 16th century. Commemorating her death in 1543, this stone is a rare survival of a depiction of a prioress. She is wearing ecclesiastical vestments – a cassock beneath a pleated, possibly linen, rochet – a surplice with gathered sleeves. This is covered by a heavy full-length cope or cloak, fastened at the neck with an ornamental clasp known as a morse. This was probably made of silver or pewter.

What survives is only half the original monument. An illustration of the whole was made in 1769 by Thomas Pennant, the great Welsh traveller and antiquarian. It was published in his Tour of Scotland (1772). The missing half depicted the Virgin Mary with Christ in her arms.

Period: 16th Century
Dimensions: 66cm W x c.120cm L
Accession number: IONA204