Boy With Coral

Painted by an unknown artist sometime between 1650 and 1660, this is a full length portrait of a small boy strapped into a wheeled baby walker. The coral of the title refers to the teether he is holding the end of which is made from pink coral. His necklace is also made from coral. Many thanks to Brenda Price and Greg Marshall for the explanation.

He’s wearing the full length petticoat of a boy who is not yet old enough to wear breeches with the hanging sleeves down his back that act as leading reins on the small toddler. He also has a white triangular linen bib or apron over a full length smock and a linen edged coif on his head. The picture is in the Norwich Castle Museum collection.

Boy with coral by unknown artist

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6 Comments to “Boy With Coral”

  1. Hi, he’s holding the coral – it was used for teething. I think it was also supposed to be lucky and was a popular baby gift.

  2. And he has a coral necklace for good measure … hope the little mite survived to adulthood!

  3. Yes, coral teethers, like this one mounted with a handle, were around for some time.

  4. something new and wonderful learned today – semi-precious jewel of red coral popular into 19th century: most likely until they found out it was made up of tiny polyp animal skeletons! Info from googling has a belief that a coral necklace prevented skin diseases, and also coral itself warded off ill fortune. The perfect present for a baby shower! Adore the painting…Thanks.

  5. I think the coral in the title refers to the piece of red sea coral he is holding in his hand, and which appears to be attached to his sash.

  6. Yes, you are right. If you refer to my original post, you will see I have already stated this.

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