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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 13 in. (33 cm)
Stem: 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm)
Flower: 4 1/2 in. (11.4 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 Pink and White Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium reginae). This blossom is a type of orchid flower. It is comprised of three white petals above a large pink pouch with white streaks. Behind the bloom is a single green leaf on the short green stem.
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.
MINNESOTA: The Pink and White Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium reginae) was designated the official state flower of Minnesota in 1902. It is also known as the Showy Lady’s Slipper or the Queen’s Lady Slipper. The Wild Lady Slipper (Cyprideum calceolous) was originally chosen as the state flower in 1893, and was featured in the “National Garland of Flowers” at the Chicago’s World’s Fair. While the Minnesota Senate adopted the resolution to adopt this flower, it fell through the cracks of the House. 1902 the women of the St. Anthony Study Circle brought this to the attention of the Legislature, and further proved that the variety, Wild Lady Slipper (Cyprideum calceolous), was not native to Minnesota. The legislature then passed a new resolution naming the Pink and White Lady Slipper (Cypripedium reginae) as Minnesota’s state flower, and it was then given the designation of official state symbol in 1967. The Pink and White Lady Slipper can live for up to 50 years, but they grow slowly, taking up to 16 years to produce their first flowers. The blossom appear in late June or early July. These wildflowers reach about four feet tall and are found in open fens, bogs, swamps, and damp woods. Lady Slippers are listed as threatened and endangered by many states, including Minnesota. Due to the rarity of this wildflower, it has been illegal to pick, uproot or unearth the flowers in Minnesota since 1925.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Minnesota  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