This sad but beautiful effigy of a child in Romsey Abbey was sculpted by her father, Francis Taylor, who was a doctor, surgeon, Justice of the Peace, Mayor of Romsey in 1854/5, as well as an accomplished sculptor.
Little Alice died in 1843 of scarlet fever at the age of 2 years and 5 months. Her grieving father kept her memory alive with this life-size memorial of his daughter lying asleep with a rosebud in her hand, broken at the stem. It is said that when she fell ill her father brought her a rose from the garden and she was still clutching it when she died. She had only been ill 4 days. Her charming, if sentimental, effigy is a poignant reminder that in Victorian times death was a frequent visitor in nearly every home, and that even in a doctor’s household there were few remedies for illness other than trying to improve a patient’s natural resistance to disease.
“Is it well with the child? It is well”, a Biblical quotation, is carved on the side.
There was a ”Do Not Touch” sign on the figure, which I requested be taken off for my photography, otherwise it would have required considerable cloning.
V2 shows a larger version.
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