This wax doll was made in the late 1860s and owned by a little girl called Lillias. She was a descendent of Sir Walter Scott and lived in Draycott Manor, Derbyshire.
Unfortunately, in 1875 at the age of 11 years old, Lillias died of Scarlet Fever, at that time a deadly, contagious disease. Her parents ordered the servants to burn all her clothes and belongings to prevent the disease spreading to the rest of the family and the Head Gardener threw everything onto the blazing bonfire.
The gardener’s young son, who had been Lillias’ friend and companion, saw this doll on the edge of the bonfire and retrieved it before it was too badly burnt in the flames. He kept the doll in the same condition as it was found, with scorch marks and some damage, in remembrance of Lillias, and it has been passed down through his family until some years ago it was donated to this Museum.
Like the young boy, we have respected the family’s wishes and left the doll untouched.