Posy Holders On Sale At The Grist Mill Antiques Center

July 23, 2021

“Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”
I’m sure those of us of a certain age will remember saying this little ditty, not realizing there was an older version, which replaced “ashes” with “A-tishoo!” Some people claim the nursery rhyme is about the plague. The “rosies” are the red blotches on the skin. The “posies” are the sweet-smelling flowers people carried to try to ward off the plague, and “atishoo” refers to the sneezing fits of people with pneumonic plague. Other versions of the rhyme signify joy and love instead of suffering and death.
Thus was born the posy holder, a lady's accessory in silver filagree or other metal, resembling a small vase, filled with flowers. The bouquet shape was usually small and rounded. In earlier times before sanitation and concerns with personal hygiene, the nosegays were carried to superstitiously ward off disease or to camouflage the unpleasant smells of the street. Posy holders are also known as “tussie mussies” and have existed since medieval times. Doilies or ribbons are usually used to bind the stems in the arrangements.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, posy holders became a romantic fashion accessory that would hold any flowers that gentlemen callers would bring during courting. They also kept the woman’s delicate and expensive clothing protected from water droplets by keeping the wet stems in the handle of the posy holder.
See these and other items at the Grist Mill Antiques Center at 127 Hanover St., Pemberton, N.J. The multi-dealer shop is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
For more information, call 609-726-1588.


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