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The inscription identifies this lady as Martha Horton, who married Joshua Horton of Sowerby, Yorkshire, between 1651-6. However, she seems too old and may instead be Martha’s mother-in-law. Her sombre black clothing and lace headdress show she is a widow.

The Horton family were strict adherents to their Puritan faith. This woman, presented with a plain sincerity, rests her finger between the pages of her Bible, from which she seeks spiritual and moral guidance.

April 2005