Professor V. B. Wittrock, of Stockholm, wrote as follows in the Gardeners' Chronicle for June 13, 1896: "In the early thirties the English Pansy was introduced into France, and was cultivated there by skilful horticulturists, who took great pains in further improving it. In Belgium they also strove to improve the English Pansies in the thirties, and partly in the same way as in France, without regard to the laws of beauty laid down in England." It was probably the progeny of these English Pansies which returned to this country about 1850, and became the parents of the Fancy Pansy as we know it. The first we hear of them in this country was in the year 1848, and at first they were called Belgian Pansies, presumably for the simple reason that they had a continental origin. An English nurseryman, Mr. John Salter, who had been for some time in Versailles, France, brought some Pansy seed with him on returning to England. This he sowed in his new English nursery, where the plants subsequently attracted the attention of many. In 1849 Fancy Pansies were referred to in the columns of the Gardeners' Chronicle for the first time. From 1851 onwards, Fancy Pansies were offered in Mr. Salter's Catalogue. In 1852 Mr. John Downie of Edinburgh, who later became the greatest raiser and grower of these flowers, is credited with having exhibited six kinds of Fancy Pansies at the Botanic Gardens, Regent's Park, London. Mr. William Dean (one of a remarkable trio of brothers, all horticultural authorities) has left it on record that to Mr. Andrew Henderson, proprietor of the Pine Apple Nurseries, London, belongs the credit of having introduced the improved forms of Fancy or Belgian Pansies to English growers about 1858. Mr. William Dean was entrusted by Mr. Henderson with the growing of these improved Fancy Pansies in his (Mr. Dean's) gardens at Shipley, and Mr. Dean grew them well and raised many new varieties. It was he who first suggested the name "Fancy," instead of "Belgian," for them.
From 1860 onward Scotland became peculiarly the home of the cultivated Pansy. The leading Scots florists devoted themselves enthusiastically to its culture and improvement. The cooler temperature of the north accounts in a large measure for the success obtained by Scotsmen, for there the large flowers develop slowly, and the full character and beauty, especially of the large Fancy varieties, are brought out to perfection. To Messrs. Downie & Laird, Messrs. Dickson & Co., Mr. William Paul, Messrs. Dobbie & Co., Mr. John Sutherland, Mr. Andrew Irvine, Mr. Matthew Campbell, Mr. Alex. Lister, Mr. John Smellie, and others, belongs the credit of placing Scotland in the forefront of Pansy culture.
The brothers William and Richard Dean, Mr. C. Turner of Slough, and Mr. Hooper of Bath were renowned Pansy men in the latter half of the last century, while Mr. William Sydenham and Mr. Septimus Pye, as growers and raisers of named varieties; and Messrs. R. H. Bath, Ltd., as pioneers in the choicest seedling strains, are well-known English growers of the present day. As raisers in past years, Mr. J. D. Stuart and Mr. Samuel M'Kee of Belfast well upheld the reputation of the "sister isle."