Book, 'The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott'; Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832); 18...


Book, 'The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott'


Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Maker Role


About this object

This book was given to Margaret Edith Lush for her birthday and is inscribed with the following passage: “Margaret Edith Lush, July 5 1871, a birthday gift from Papa & Mama”.

Books, like this one, were important part of Victorian life in an era where there was no television, computers or radio. Books were a vital source of entertainment and provided hours of enjoyment. They were also important educational resources, especially for young girls who may not have had the opportunity to attend school.

During the 19th century, educating girls was seen by many parents to be fruitless. This was because women were expected to marry, have children and run a household, all of which did not need formal education. (1) However Margaret Edith’s parents, Vicesimus and Blanche Lush, stressed the importance of education and endeavoured to educate all of their children, including their four daughters. (2) Margaret Edith's father was the Anglican minister of the Howick parish in Auckland, and he established a school at the All Saints Church in 1851. According to his journals, the school roll included 15 girls and 12 boys and his wife helped in teaching the girls during the afternoon. Margaret Edith was largely taught by her father, her older sister Blannie, as well as governesses and also received lessons in French, German and art from other people in the community. Therefore, Margaret Edith and her sisters received a higher education than most other girls of their era.

Tragically, Margaret Edith died from scarlet fever on 22 April 1876 at the age of 16. While the death of a child was not unusual during the Victorian era, this does not mean that the loss was not felt greatly by parents and family members. In the Lush family archives held at Ewelme Cottage, there are a number of mementoes which serve as poignant reminders of the family’s tragic loss, including photographs of her gravestone, memorium cards, and inscriptions in books. This book was later given to Margaret Edith’s niece, Anne Martin Ruddock, on 19 November 1909.

(1) Anne Else, ‘Gender inequalities – Education,’ Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand,
(2) Gillian Nelson, ‘”In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”: Vicesimus Lush and his journals, 1850-1882,’ Master’s thesis Victoria University of Wellington, 2012, p. 28.

For more information about the Lush family and Ewelme Cottage, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Medium and Materials



18 x 12 x 3cm

Date Made



Thomas Nelson and Sons (estab. 1798)

Publication Date


Publication Place

London, England

Publication Place

Edinburgh, Scotland

Publication Place

New York, United States of America

Credit Line

Collection of Ewelme Cottage, Heritage New Zealand Historic Pouhere Taonga

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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