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Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
Stem: 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
Flower: 4 in. (10.2 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 Peony (Paeonia). A slender stem with a large leaf is topped by drooping, elongated sepals and the irregular white petals of the blossom.
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.
INDIANA: The Peony (Paeonia) was designated the official state flower of Indiana in 1957. In the state’s history, the Carnation, Tulip Tree Flower, and the Zinnia have all served as the official state flower. When the Peony was chosen by Indiana’s General Assembly, they did not specify a color or variety, so the Hoosiers can call any Peonies their own. The Peony Bush is a perennial, known for its showy flowers and colorful foliage, which can reach several feet high. It blooms at the end of May and early June. Peony plants produce single, double, and anemone blossom forms and come in variety of colors including red, orange, lavender, magenta, gold, pink and white. They also give off a strong, pleasant fragrance. Since its arrival from Europe in the 1800s, the Peony has been an American favorite. They are very hardy and thrive in Indiana’s climate. When left undisturbed, the Peony will bloom each year for up to 50 years, and descendants the state’s earliest Peonies still grow today in Indiana.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Indiana  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