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Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Stem: 7 in. (17.8 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 Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta). This blossom has a daisy-like appearance with ten elongated gold petals around a raised dark sphere. The slender green stem, has two leaves arching off in two registers below the bloom.
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.
MARYLAND: The Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) was designated the official state floral emblem of Maryland in 1918. The Black-Eyed Susan is a daisy-like wildflower that is a member of the sunflower family. The scientific name "hirta" is Latin for "rough or hairy," referring to the prominent center of the flower. It is native to the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and is common in the fields and roadsides of Maryland. It grows 2 to 3 feet high and blooms between May and August. The Black-Eyed Susan earned favor because its black and yellow colors coordinated with the state flag and because of a popular song of the time that connected the flower to Maryland. This color combination also matches the state bird, state insect, and state cat. The Black-Eyed Susan has also been joined with the states love of horseracing. Black-Eyed Susan is the name of a filly race that goes on before the Preakness, it is the name of the official Preakness cocktail, and the winner of the Preakness is bedecked with a blanket of Black-Eyed Susan flowers.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Maryland  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