'The Old Pretender' is one of the oldest dolls in the
V&A museum's collection. It was carved from wood
and covered with gesso (a mixture of plaster and glue)
before being painted. The doll is fashionably dressed
with a wig made of human hair and beauty spots
painted on the face. It is associated with the court
of King James VII (of Scotland) and II (of England and
Wales) at the palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
It is said to have been given to a family of loyal
supporters by James II's son James Edward
(acknowledged James VII in Scotland but not
James III in England and Wales who was
subsequently known as 'The Old Pretender').