What is a Doll?

How long have we had this love affair with Dolls?

Pearls of Wisdom:

New World Dictionary describes a doll as - "a child's toy, puppet, marionette, etc. made to resemble a human being."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mary Campbell...."The Highland Lassie"

"Robert Burns and Highland Mary"

Little is known of the Highland Mary of Robert Burns legend. We know she was born in Auchamore by Dunoon and was employed as a nursery maid to Gavin Hamilton in Mauchline, and later as a dairymaid at Coilsfield. She met Robert Burns during the period of his estrangement from Jean Armour .

They had an intense relationship lasting barely a month, exchanged matrimonial vows, and according to Scottish law, exchanged Bibles on the banks of the River Ayr on the second Sunday of May 1786, then parted company to make arrangements to emigrate to Jamaica. This was not to happen for Mary Campbell died in Greenock in October of that year.

Trio of Highland Maries dolls

Mary looks towards Ayrshire where she plighted her troth in ancient Scottish fashion with her beloved Rabbie. This was done by standing on the opposite banks of a burn clasping one hand each in the running water while their other hands held Mary’s bible.

Mary Campbell - (1763-86) - Highland Mary

Mary Campbell died, possibly in premature chilbirth induced by typhus; Burns's song 'Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary' suggests that he may have asked her to emigrate to the West Indies with him.

In later life Burns was stricken with remorse over the affair and he wrote for her the song 'The Highland Lassie 0' and a sentimental poem 'To Mary in Heaven'.

Kling China ca. 1880

Staffordshire Spill Vase...Robert Burns and Highland Mary.


There simmer first unfauld her robes,

And there the langest tarry;

For there I took the last Farewell

O' my sweet Highland Mary.

ABG chinas ca. 1880

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips

I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly!

And closed for aye the sparkling glance

That dwelt on me sae kindly!

From my own collection... Highland Mary.

Beautiful Highland Mary made by artist Emma Clear.

Highland Mary was offered around 1880, by various companies, for example with the numbers between #10 and 1000 of ALT, Beck & Gottschalk in Nauendorf/Thuringia. It was as a glazed "China Doll" with painted eyes and blond or black hair, as well as in biscuit porcelain with glass or even paperweight eyes.

"The Bethrothal "

And mouldering now in silent dust.

That heart that lo'ed me dearly!

But still within my bosom's core

Shall live my Highland Mary.


  1. Isn't it fascinating how this became such an icon - and love these dolls.

  2. Such a sad tale, and she was so young!...The dolls are very sweet and modelled after a child's features...rounded face with apple cheeks. A delightful china doll.
    Thanks "Hermes"

  3. Очень интересный рассказ. И куклы интересные. Красивый экземпляр в коллекции.

  4. Спасибо за ваш комментарий...Это очень сладкий куклы с детски функциями.
    История это грустно, но очень известный в Шотландии, где Мэри хорошо любил.


  5. I really like "and they lived happily ever after".......so sad, not to be with Highland Mary and Robert B. ! She did not live long enough to enjoy married life as a couple. In history we see so many people die from disease and complications of health issues that today we hardly consider the risk. Makes one wonder if history would have been different with longer life spans! The Highland Mary dolls are precious....love the little full face and short hair. I am thrilled that you have one in your collection! I am enthralled by the very vintage photos of little children, and especially the girls with their dolls. I have one such photo of a little girl holding a stuffed bear.

  6. Thank you Phyllis...These are very sweet little dolls, very child like and charming. I find Highland Mary story so touching and sad. I love how pretty she is always portrayed on all the statues and paintings I've seen.