Glossary

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Saint Margaret

Margaret was supposedly born in Antioch. She became a Christian against her father's wishes, and he turned her out of his house. She then lived in the fields as a shepherdess, a guise in which she is sometimes depicted.

More popularly, she is the patron saint of childbirth; a statuette of her can be seen on the bedhead in 'The Arnolfini Portrait' by van Eyck in the Collection. She was tortured for her faith and was eaten by a dragon, which burst open and disgorged her because of the crucifix she held in her hand. She prayed that women in labour should be delivered of their child as she was delivered from the dragon. A dragon usually accompanies her as her attribute.
 
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