I found a rare hand-painted, antique lilac teacup from Bavaria called “Louise”. It’s funny how different flowers go in and out of fashion… but lilacs will never loose favor with me! The motif was listed as violets, but I knew better – a huge bush used to grow below my childhood window and their scent was always a sure sign of spring. In the Victorian language of flowers, the lilac signifies beauty and pride, and the purple lilac speaks of the first emotions of love.
I’m thinking a hummingbird or a goldfinch would go nicely with one of these shots for an upcoming painting.
I’ve been wanting to make a nosegay of violets for as long as I can remember (the violet is February’s flower and that’s the month I was born in)! A nosegay is just what it sounds like – a happy nose. These miniature bouquets were made of fragrant flowers (as early as medieval times) to be worn close enough to smell them, on a broach or in the hair. And what could be more perfect than the viola odoratta, the odorous violet (or sweet violet). In Victorian times this flower symbolized faithfulness and modesty and would have provided some relief from the less than pleasant scents of open sewers, horse dung filled streets and abundant body odor. For my purposes, I want to have a bouquet to match my antique teacups, as a setting for birds that I photograph and add to my painting schemes.
The hand painting on these Bavarian teacups from the early part of the 20th century is so charming. A lovely launching point for painting my own take on violets.
Somehow making violet tea is akin to “drinking the Kool-aid” for me, creating a window where the whimsical might be possible – like a bird alighting on a teacup.