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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 20 1/4 in. (51.4 cm)
Stem: 13 in. (33 cm)
Flower: 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Artificial flowers and trees
United States
Artist, Helen Hornberger, revived the techniques of French tole to create naturalistic representations of the state flowers. The artist used thin copper sheets as her base, and painted them with oil paint in the natural colors of the blossoms and leaves of the Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttallii). Two blossoms, each with three ivory-colored petals that flare out at the top. The smaller, leaf-like parts growing at the base of the petals, called sepals, are green with brown overpainting on the top two-thirds. The stems of the blossoms each have a single leaf which is similar to a blade of grass. One of these is signed with the last name of the artist.
Label Text:
The Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago proposed that each U.S. state and territory select a flower to represent their state in the “National Garland of Flowers.” This resulted in the National Floral Emblem Society. Each state has adopted to represent the state and its people based on their importance to the state’s history, economy, folklore, or native varieties. Tole artist Helen Hornberger created each artificial flower representing each state to create for a bouquet displaying America’s floral diversity.
UTAH: The Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttalli) was designated the official state floral emblem of Utah on March 18, 1911. The Sego Lily was chosen through a census taken of the state’s school children as to their choice for state flower. It is a perennial with white, lilac, or yellow flowers and grows throughout the state, especially the in the sagebrush foothills and valleys of the Great Basin in the summer months. In addition to its natural beauty, this flower is important to the state of Utah for its historical meaning and value. By eating the bulbs of the Sego Lily, Utah pioneers survived a crop-devouring plague of crickets between 1840 and 1851.
Hornberger on the inside of the leaf of the larger blossom.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Utah  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Helen Hornberger.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens