Highland Museum of Childhood
Tissie was one of the very first objects to be donated when the Highland Museum of Childhood was established. She is a beautiful example of an expensive, early Victorian doll. Her head and shoulders are made of papier-mâché, dipped in wax. Her body is made from cloth, stuffed with sawdust and her hands and feet are crafted from soft leather. She has brown glass eyes (one of which is a replacement) and a head of real human hair.
It’s believed that Tissie was made in London, sometime between the 1830 and 1850. She was likely bought for one of the daughters of the Earl and Countess of Cromartie (also Duchess of Sutherland). However, Tissie also had another young owner at that time. Whilst the Countess of Cromartie was visiting a crofting family on the estate, her daughter gave Tissie to a sick child in the croft. The crofting family treasured Tissie and generations of the family played with her, resulting in her face being damaged by time inside the smokey croft house.
Tissie belonged to this family until she was passed down into the care of Angela Kellie in the 1980s. Kellie collected dolls and shared them with the public in her own home in Strathpeffer. During the winter, she ran a doll’s hospital, where she repaired dolls sent from all over Scotland. Upon her retirement in the 1990s, Tissie came to the Highland Museum of Childhood. She still wears the silk dress that was made by Mrs Kellie as her original dress is too fragile.