Object type

miniature crib; miniature cradle

Place Associated

Southern Netherlands, now Belgium, Brabant (probably) (place of manufacture)




oak, paint, gilt


overall: 253 mm x 190 mm x 115 mm 390 g


This little cradle may once have been part of a larger structure, suspended within a framework in which it could be moved to and fro. It is a rare survivor of a particular type of devotion which encouraged cloistered women to come closer to God by caring for a doll-like statue of the infant Jesus as if it were a real baby. This took the form of washing, swaddling and dressing the doll, laying him in the crib beneath embroidered sheets, rocking the cradle and mimicking lulling a real baby to sleep, for example through song. One end of the cradle is decorated with a Pietà (the dead Christ supported on his mother's lap), deliberately recalling the image of the Virgin and Child to poignant effect. The other end contains a representation of St Martin, the significance of which is not clear, although he may be the saint in whose name the convent was dedicated.

See also Burrell Collection Talks: Gilded Miniature Crib

Credit Line/Donor

Gifted by Sir William and Lady Burrell to the City of Glasgow, 1944


Burrell Collection: Wood Carvings

ID Number



Burrell Collection

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