Saturday, January 21, 2012

Treausres From My Grandmother

Hello! Inspired by a friend who sent me a picture of a vase that had belonged to her grandmother, I decided to blog about some things that had belonged to my paternal grandmother. My dad was an only child, so there was no one else to divide his parents' estate with. Consequently, he passed along some of his Sicilian parents' belongings to his own children. None of what I'm about to show has great monetary value, but the sentimental value to me is great!

I'll begin with this lamp, which was made by Rayo:

My mom told me that Grandma mentioned it had been a kerosene lamp that she had had electrified. This lowered its value, but no matter - it's still pretty and works great. According to an eBay search, it may date from from the 1890's to the very early 1900's.

Another electrification project was this:

My grandmother had supplied the information that the base had been an urn; perhaps from Italy. Uncertain about this, as the only labeling on the bottom is the name of the shop that had done the lamp wiring job. Again, it works fine to this day. 

Close-up detail from the urn base:

The next item is a small framed print; it had been my sister's but I guess she decided it wasn't to her taste, so she gave it to me. She told me that our grandma said it was a picture of a young widow - that might be the reason for the veil the woman is wearing? I don't know the origin of the print.

My grandmother's older sister embroidered the floral piece; my grandmother said her sister had been taught by nuns in a convent school - but whether this was in Sicily or during a later move to the United States, I don't know (my grandmother was known to embellish the truth, so it's hard to say if the stories she told about her family were accurate). 

In spite of the glare from the frame glass, hopefully you can still tell that it's lovely work. 

A close-up of the stitching:

I believe that silk threads were used, and it was entirely done with a satin stitch. I have done similar stitching, so I know what a good job my great-aunt had done - and how long it must have taken. 

Now on to a couple of pottery pieces:

This is one of a set of two that I was given. On the bottom they are marked "Italy Vanro 8269". According to eBay info, this vase and its mate may be from the 1940's. 

I've always fancied that the above pitcher as looking like it came from an ancient Greek dwelling, but in reality, it says "G139 Perugia Made In Italy" on the bottom. eBay info seems to indicate that this may also be from the 1940's.

I didn't take photos of some smaller items that had belonged to my grandmother as well - a few pieces of costume jewelry and two sets of bird figurines (neither set has any markings, so I don't know how old they are). 

However, I saved what I think is the best for last:

A portrait of my paternal great-grandparents. My grandmother displayed it in the second-floor hallway at the top of the stairs at her house. These stairs were directly opposite the front door, so when we came to visit and entered the foyer, there'd be her parents looking down on us. I was thrilled when my dad offered it to me, and proudly tell our daughter that those are her great-great-grandparents. 

Here's a close-up:

There's a strong resemblance between my grandmother and her mother, whereas I see a bit of my dad in his grandfather's eyes. My great-grandfather was supposedly sometimes told that he resembled Theodore Roosevelt, which my grandmother said pleased him. 

My dad thought his grandmother rather strict and rigid, but he loved his grandfather. The grandfather had been a doctor, and my dad can still recall how the grandfather would slice a piece of fruit to share with him, talking about the nutrients and botanical properties of that fruit as he did so. 

Hope you enjoyed this bit of show-and-tell, and I hope that you have some nice older pieces from your family as well!


  1. I always liked that picture of my great-great grandparents.

  2. I'm so glad that you've always liked that picture, as I always have too!