This curious object is made from the bone vertebra of a cow, oxen, or horse. It depicts a preaching clergymen, possibly John Wesley, and is a piece of folk art.
Although unusual, this piece is not unique. There are three similar vertebra preacher statuettes in the Collection at Wesley's Chapel, and occasionally one comes across them in museums and private collections. The material, colouring and the bone 'wings' at the back make these small statues appear rather sombre.
The original purpose of these preacher vertebrae is unclear. They may have been purely decorative, but it is possible that the material and pose of the preacher may have been intended as a reminder to lead a virtuous life.