My great grandfather is head of the far end of table, this was taken in 1907.
The family name of my grandfather, Schweder, loosely translates as Swedish, in German.
(Here’s a lovely link I found about my great-grandfather and the “Smelly Nuisance Case” at Courtlands – which was the childhood home of my grandfather, but that’s another story……)
Anyway, the reason for mentioning the Scandinavian connection is that our kitchen diner is now home to a few mid century bits and bobs that echo this ancestry.
Despite the Swedish genealogy it was Norway that stole my grandfather’s heart on several visits – and so it was that my mum had a few Norwegian items that have now passed into our possession.
The back of one of the ceramic plaques
They are objects I have grown up with so they feel very familiar and immediately make a new space feel like home for me. They include:
Glass tankards – I never knew these to get used, instead they lived in a Welsh Dresser my grandfather made. I saw them whenever I went to get out the banana split dishes (which were used a lot!). As a child I never appreciated the design, I am making up for it now.
A handpainted Figgjo Saga jug – it lived on mum’s bookshelves, so now it lives on ours.
Norwegian ceramic plaques – there were some more that I grew up with but my brother had these as we decided to split the collection since he also knew them so well. The plaque of the cook that always hung in our kitchen was a present to mum from her father – he said it always reminded him of her. I’m afraid I fought my brother quite fiercely for this one, since I was the household cook from the age of 10!!
Cathrineholm pans – I cannot describe how many times these have been used. Growing up they were a firm focus of the kitchen as my mum taught me to cook – “just bung it in the Norwegian casserole”. The Christmas pudd was always flamed in one, the gammon always simmered in the same. It was only recently I spotted one on Etsy and learnt its name and the fact they’re collectable! You can tell from the pics they have had good use and will for many more years to come. (FYI – Cathrineholm isn’t a person; it’s the name of a factory outside Halden, Norway. )
I love these pieces; cherish them alongside my sparkly new stuff. They have the history of my grandfather bringing them back from Norway and then my mum loving and using them.
I love the link to my Scandinavian ancestry (as if the pasty skin wasn’t enough to remind me daily) and it’s all these things that give them soul.
I freely admit to a ridiculous, almost over-bearing at times, sentimental attachment to objects and love to find tenuous links.
It’s no wonder then that the lights that hang over our kitchen island are from Sweden. I knew they were right when I spotted them but the thought of a little link to my Scandinavian past, quite literally, hanging around, clinched the deal.