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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Stem: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
Flower: 5 1/2 in. (14 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 Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis and Lupinus subcarnosis). The two rows of small pale green petals, followed by four rows of small blue blossoms on thin brown stems create the conical shape of the flower. Four palmately compound leaves of green branch off the brown stem below the flowers.
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.
TEXAS: The Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis and Lupinus subcarnosis) was designated the official state flower of Texas in 1901, and in 1971, the state legislature broadened its holdings to include all native species of Bluebonnets. The Bluebonnet, also called the Buffalo Clover, Wolf Flower, and El Conejo was named for its color and the resemblance of its petals to a woman’s sunbonnet. In the spring, bluebonnets blanket most of south and central Texas. They are especially common along roadsides due the Highway Department’s landscaping program of the 1930s. This program was the first of its kind and spread wildflower seeds along Texas roadways. The Texans celebrate their state flower with an officially sanctioned Bluebonnet tartan, Bluebonnet city in Ennis, Bluebonnet trail, Bluebonnet festival and Bluebonnet flower song. They are also celebrated on Texas State Wildflower Day every April 24.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Texas  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