It seems that I’m on the lookout for prayer beads in paintings these days. Derek at haligwoerc put this picture up this morning I noticed the beads in the right wing right away. He lists this painting as by G. David from 1505. If you click on the picture, it will enlarge in a new window.
It looks like a complete late medieval rosary with white beads (bone ?) and darker gauds (maybe amber?) with a cross. There appears to be 10 beads between the gauds if you consider the cross to be randomly placed. It is rather large in obviously placed in the painting. The woman with the beads is not only the largest figure in her panel, perhaps the largest in the painting. In fact the three patrons, the woman with beads, the man in the left wing, and the richly robed person in the left of the central panel are the largest three people in the painting, larger than Jesus and John. Interesting… the woman with beads is also the only person in the painting holding a book. This makes me wonder who this woman is. The woman behind her is wearing a crown and holding a crown.
Addendum: As I look at the paining again, the smaller woman slightly in front of the woman with the large beads also has a small rosary hanging from her belt as well. It looks like the same style although her aves are darker and the guads stand out more. Note tha the smaller women are also wearing black veils until the two most prominent women. I doubt they are nuns though because some of thier hair is showing in all of them and they appear to have more decorative cuffs on their gowns.