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By Dr Michelle Doran
Statuette of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music. According to the 5th century Acta Sancta Caecilia, she was martyred by the prefect of Rome, Turcius Almachius. The story of Cecilia’s death says that she lived for three days after her executioner was unable to severe her head and the statue displays evidence of the attempted decapitation.
The statue is a copy of the altar sculpture at the Basilica de Sancta Cecilia, Trastevere, Rome by Stefano Moderno (AD 1600), one of the most famous examples of Baroque sculpture. The statue is said to depict the saint’s body after her grave was exhumed in AD 1599.