Friday, March 24, 2017

Great Grandmother and Pansies.

Spring makes me think of
Great Grandmother Anna, who adored everything Pansy.

My great grand parents, Anna and Niels's wedding picture 1895 in Denmark. Her dress, while not white was perfect for the cold wind on the west coast of Northern Denmark or 


Niels was a fisherman and might have wooed my great grandmother with Pansies, she was 19 here.

Source: The Graphics Fairy

I wonder if she had beautiful prints of pansies, such as this one from the era.

In 1911 Anna and Niels and family had enlarged to three girls and one boy, my grandfather.
My great aunt who passed my mother the pansy items, is the baby girl. She lived to be 100.
This was a photo taken before their immigration to the United States that year.

The Graphics Fairy

There are many Victorian cards and graphics including Pansies.
The Victorian meaning for Pansy was "to think," or "thoughts," about love.  So to give a pansy was to say, "I'm thinking about you," fondly we would hope.
The pansy was considered a bad-luck gift to give to a man.
Violets or Violas, the smaller pansies meant modesty, where 'shrinking violet' came from. The colors also added to the message.
Blue pansies meant, "I'll always be true, faithful and watchful,"
while white pansies meant "let's take a chance.
A wonderful site about flowers is The Plant Farm blog.

One of Anna's plates
I have two OLD Alumina plates which were everyday wares produced at the turn of the century
by Royal Copenhagen. Produced with a thicker/ironstone tan clay body this line of pieces were  painted white and then a design was stenciled or hand painted on top and then clear glazed.

This thick porcelain thunder mug or porcelain potty had a gorgeous top, 
which bit the dust a long time ago. 
I have used it for a planter, table decoration, and held my curlers for awhile. The piecemoves about the houseseasonally. It is beautiful and weighs a ton.

Pansy thunder-mug, Anchor mark on the bottom circa 1906 or there about. 
Anchor Pottery Company in Trenton NJ, produced this piece probably in the early 1900's. 
Perhaps it was the first item Anna purchased when coming to the US

Wikipedia tells us that “the pansy is a group of large-flowered hybrid plants cultivated as garden flowers. Pansies are derived from viola species Viola tricolor, hybridized with other viola species. These hybrids are referred to as Viola. The common words “pansy” and “violet” are often used interchangeably. When a distinction is made, plants considered to be pansies have four petals pointing upwards, and only one pointing down. Violets have three petals pointing up and two pointing down.”

I have very few items from Great Grandmother Anna since my grandfather was the only son. The daughters most often inherited all their mother's pretty items. These pieces were passed down  
to my mother through my great aunt, the baby in the second picture.

In America, Great Grandfather and my now grown grandfather (left) opened a fish market in 1922.

I have the OLD original tools from the fish market, cleavers, sharpeners, a scaling knife, the notes hook which was in the small office where all the books were kept. On the right is a picture of a woman serving fish, which I had always thought was Great Grandma Anna, but wasn't as it was a generic print that an advertising calendar could be made from. 
The year is 1923 and was printed for my family's fish market.

The major piece I have from her is this lovely teapot. The mark on the bottom is 
 Plant Tuscan China made in England 1936 or later. She passed in 1938.

What is unusual is how beloved this pot was, as it is smashed into at least 20 pieces and was lovingly glued back together. Anna had eight grand children by then, and was aunt to another dozen. 
Somehow this precious teapot was broken and then repaired. 
I handle it very gingerly and it is on display in a locked china cabinet most days.
This is what I call a monumental REDO.

I can imagine Anna's garden was filled with pansies, Forget-me-knots, and other lush flowers that liked the chill of the North Sea or Lake Michigan.

Another piece I know very little about is a a silver plated brass tray with matching lid, 
on an enamel glazed milk-glass bowl. 
My guess it is very early 20th century and the milk glass has that 
tint of green so desirable in old milk glass.
 I don't have a black light, but I imagine it would glow green. Nothing was marked on this piece,
 despite how beautiful the enamel glazed decorations still are on this. 
Those are Mom's antique books, the dish sits on.

So with "Pansy Thoughts" of my great grandmother...I post a Spring gift for you. 

Thanks always for visiting. 
I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown or anywhere I shop.
 Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. 
Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle

I will be sharing at these fine Parties!



  1. Thanks for such a lovely post,really a gift!Love your teapot !Hugs,Maristella.

    1. Dear Maristella, thank you so much for visiting and leaving such a nice comment, Sandi

  2. How wonderful to have the photographs, and the tools that your ancestors used!

    1. My family threw nothing away, lol. I began blogging and have an Etsy Shop because I have 4 generations of three families of items to deal with. Some things, I simply can't let go--either to sell, and some I share--as that is what our lives are is stories.

  3. Oh my, that pretty little teapot is a masterful redo! Love all the sweet pansy pretties. Your garden is looking a treat with those smiling pansies. I have enjoyed reading all the delightful information about your ancestors.

    1. Ah, yes, the first time I came upon it, wrapped up in ancient newspaper I was amazed it was glued. A rough shard on one side was the clue as the breaks, look like vines of the design. My mother had two very active boy cousins, and I don't know if they were the culprits or not, as the entire family had Sunday dinners every week at Gramma and Grampas'. My garden is Chicagoland bleak with nothing in bloom, but those are from last year. I have always had pansies though, each year. Thanks for stopping by. Sandi

  4. What a great story to have and to tell in the family. That is awesome to know that history of your family. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm afraid that is about all I know of her, except she laughed easily-Neils was the one under a dark cloud and temper---I do know of her sisters as a child---but at that time, I couldn't make the familial connection. Thanks for stopping by, Sandi

  5. Sandi I loved your story. I too am a great lover of pansy's I only own one pansy teapot which i truly love. I do have a pinterest album full of pansys. And every year i look for them at the garden centers which haven't had much in them not sure why one year i had some amazing ones.. just purchased some seeds last weekend.. lovely post your great grandmother was quite lovely with love Janice

  6. Pansies are such a cheery flower... and how nice to have them on your teapot. :) What a great history you have in your family.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. My mom had all the packed away, I just remember my great aunt saying GGrandmother had loved pansies, Sandi

  7. What a wonderful glue job on that teapot! It is lovely and all the great information on your family! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, Bernideen, from the front you can't even tell. I don't know who broke it, it was just boxed up that way---probably from the 1940's. Thanks for hosting your sweet party. Sandi

  8. Thank you for sharing your interesting ancestry and all the pretty pansies!

  9. I love the teapot. Tea tastes so much nicer from proper china

    1. I think if water went into this teapot it would melt all the glue holding it together, Thanks for stopping by, Sandi

  10. Lovely pictures and post. Thanks for sharing.

  11. A beautiful post and I love pansies. Thank you for sharing your lovely story at the Snickerdoodle Create~Bake~Make link party!

    1. Thanks for visiting and hosting Snickerdoodle, Sandi

  12. Beautiful pictures and thanks for the info on pansies.

    1. Pansies are just so sweet. We are still waiting for fresh ones up here in Chicago--but snow is forecasted agains, Sigh, Sandi

  13. I love Pansies as well! There was a pretty pansy dish at the estate sale I'm helping with, but I let a friend buy it. Those old photos are precious and I love learning about them! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. The internet has so changed vintage marketing. Now, you can just about find anything by searching images. Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sandi

  14. I so enjoyed this post, Sandi--seeing photos of your great grandmother, along with all the pansie-related vintage and antiques. We love having you and your posts at our Vintage Charm party :)

  15. Your post was wonderful to read. Made me think how special the things that are passed down become. Will be looking forward to reading more of your family history.


Thank you for any and all comments. I will be happy to answer any questions or comments in replies or email! HUGS!