Monday, May 31, 2010

Violets are Blue

The Victorian era was generally a romantic one, I believe, and women were able to express their feelings discretely to a loved one by carefully selecting a posy of flowers to send to them. Each flower had a meaning and so a secret message could be conveyed without the woman verbally announcing her feelings, which would have been frowned upon.
A very popular flower during this time was the humble violet. Its tiny size was more than made up for in its sentiment, which, depending on the colour, was:
VIOLET - Modesty, Virtue, Affection
BLUE - Watchfulness, Faithfulness, Love
WHITE - Let's Take A Chance On Happiness

It is still possible today to find pretty treasures dating back to Victorian times and to accumulate a small collection of finds to create a pleasing display for not much money.
So, as promised, I thought I would start to share with you my collections over the next few weeks, starting with my violet inspired items, which I just happen to showcase in our downstairs loo!
A latest find, which I just had to keep, was this pretty hand made crochet doily. I adore the vintagey colour scheme, even if it is somewhat kitsch in style...

For now it rests amongst our linen hand towels which I store in a French fabric lined basket when not in use.

There's a pine shelf which runs along the top of the toilet cistern where I display some of my collection...not all of it is Victorian, and not all of it is decorated with violets, but most items echo the purple colour scheme and feature springtime flowers.

The porcelain backed hand mirror and brush came from the States a few years ago.

Above the shelf is a French glazed vitrine which houses the bulk of my treasures. I love these little cupboards as they keep the dusting of the contents to a minimum, thus prolonging their lifespan, as well as the fun that can be had from changing the arrangements around and adding to them ;-))

On top sits one of my favourite pieces of china. Its a lovely rose bowl made by Crown Devon with transfer printed violets on both the inside and outside of the bowl, and green blushed edges. The tiny jug is a treasured gift from a friend.

Open up the doors of the little cabinet and waft of parma violets streams out, provided by several bars of soap that I have been bought as gifts, and some that I have brought back from France. There are lots of other bits and bobs, all jostling for space on the three shelves...

Velvet millinery flowers and hats, perfumes and tins...
And several postcards vie for attention! Vintage hats (mostly from the 1950's) are a bit of a weakness of mine and I have lots displayed around our home...which will have to be a post another time...(I'm still looking out for an open shelved dresser for our kitchen, so that I can more practically store our everyday china. This will free up a large glazed cabinet which I'd like to move into our living room to properly store and display my hat collection.)

On one wall is an old framed advert from the 1950's next to the window with some vintage Laura Ashley curtains.
And on the door hangs an old oil painting which hubby and I bought at a street market in France.
Hope you enjoyed the quick tour of our smallest room.
Have a happy week,
Niki x


  1. Oh my! Just stunning!!! I love the print, I love the violet doily...I could go on and on! I love your gorgeous display!


  2. Beautiful!!!

    I love the Victorian era.

  3. I have been to Bath. At least once. I wish I could have spent more time. But, we were on a schedule. And ,(hah( I did go on the tour of George's Folly.
    I love all kinds of pottery and porcelain too. I don't know why. There is a real mystic to it.
    I have been following your blog, quite a long while. You like pretty things and so do I. England is a lovely place to visit.

  4. Juse wonderful! I gave a friend a vintage French violets birthday card this weekend - very 1950s kitch, not your more elegant style at all, but you see that violets are as much loved down here as chez vous!

  5. I particularly liked the embroidery hoop, the hairbrush and mirror, the cabinet and all its goodies...oh heck, I loved it all!
    I have a particular fondness for violets as it was my grandmother's name. xx

  6. I was so fortunate to visit Bath in the early 80's .... fell in love with its charm. 'Toilet cistern' has the most sophisticated sound ~ I am going to call my American counterpart just that!

  7. I've really enjoyed your post today! I have a horrid sore throat and was generally feeling quite sorry for myself ... until I popped into your Blog ... and now I'm all cheered up by your gorgeous displays!!

    Willow xx

  8. Hi Niki.
    How wonderful your violets, are my favorite flower!
    Your collection is precious and beautiful ....
    A dear greeting, you soon, Maria.
    (with translator)

  9. I love violets, they are definately my favourite wild flower! As I am sure you are aware, they are very prolific in Devon, where I am from. When my mum was a child (when it was acceptable to pick wild flowers and you always left some flowers on each plant and were never greedy) her whole family used to go out enmasse (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc) and collect violets to make into posies and send them onto Covent Garden to be sold to the Londoners of the time. x

  10. Such a sweet flower and such a wonderful collection.

  11. I love the mirror in the last picture, it is so dainty.

  12. You know what they say about good things in small packages and your 'smallest room' is no exception...beautiful things!

  13. Your violets are my favorites, too. Mine just finished an extra long bloom time this spring, as it was a cooler time than normal here in Colorado. Now I'll enjoy the heart shaped leaves that will fill in any bare spots. A dear friend gave me the start and I moved them with each new house! Thanks for sharing! ♥♫

  14. Anonymous12:45 am

    If I ever win the lottery (fat chance I know but still), I am hiring you to decorate my home! Lovely blog!


    snowslippers @

  15. Dear Niki
    Thank you for the tour! And I was so happy to read and admire your homage to the humble violet - my namesake! I have several varieties growing in the garden and they always make me smile.
    It was lovely to see you on Sunday and thank you for your purchases :-)
    Take care,
    Denise x

  16. I just love that rose bowl.
    Ruth x

  17. Thank you, I really enjoyed my visit to your "smallest room". Beautiful collection.

  18. Hello Niki...what a wonderful collection you have and what a sweet loo! Love it all and the way you put things together. Take care...Maura :)

  19. Yummy! Love the little cupboard filled with goodness.

    Warm blessings,


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx