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Catalog Data

Wicker, dried plant material, straw, dyed grasses, dried and dyed mosses, wax, wire, glass
22 × 16 3/4 in. (55.9 × 42.5 cm)
Bell jars
ca. 1870
Victorian (1837-1901)
Fancywork basket arrangement under a glass dome. The basket is wicker with a square base and two handles intersecting at right angles. Dried grasses, green wax leaves, and strawberries are attached to handle. Each side of basket dips to allow the arrangement to be viewed from all sides. Dried grasses are placed at the basket corners, and some of the wheat has been dyed pink. The wax fruit was made by mold with colored dyes and hand painted. The fruits include: banana, grapefruit, lemons, limes, strawberries, cherries, a 1/2 peach embedded with pit, black and green grapes, blackberries, miniature pumpkins, very green pear, and apples. The arrangement is displayed on a circular, wooden base that has been painted black. A groove around the edges fits the glass dome, also called a bell jar or cloche.
Label Text:
To beautify their homes, ladies engaged in handicrafts known as “fancywork.” Ornaments with floral motifs were created out of all kinds of materials, from beads to feathers to human hair. Flowers, cones, pods, acorns, seeds, mosses, and ornamental grasses were often collected and dried, later to be arranged into winter bouquets, crafted into holiday displays, and preserved in shadowboxes or under glass domes. By the early 1800s, the availability and versatility of glass made it possible to better display and protect souvenirs and memorabilia. Behind glass, the Victorians were able to exhibit collections of dried flowers, seashell works, wax flowers and fruit, and even art formed of human hair. Dried floral arrangements saved from special occasions such as bouquets from a wedding or funeral could be preserved under a dome. The Victorians love of nature was also celebrated as decorative arts under the glass.
Sticker on bottom of basket: "4364a, Z & Co."
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Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Mrs. Jean Rengers.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens