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Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm)
Stem: 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Flower: 3 1/2 in. (8.9 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 Violet (Viola). Four blossoms, each with five petals and yellow center, and three large heart-shaped leaves combine into a single short stem. The artist signed the top of one of the leaves.
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.
ILLINOIS: The Violet (Viola) was designated the official state flower of Illinois on January 21, 1908. It was chosen, along with the state tree, Native Oak, in favor of the Wild Rose and Goldenrod by the school children of Illinois. The law written to adopt Illinois state flower specified the “Blue Violet,” however, there are eight different species of “Blue” Violets in the state of Illinois. The Dooryard Violet (Viola sororia) is the most common of these, and it is also called the Meadow Violet or Common Violet, and in many parts of the country, Violets are called Pansies. Common Violets are the most easily grown, flourishing in anything from full sunlight to deep shade. In the state of Illinois, Violets are found thriving on the prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. Many types of Violets, including the Common Violet, produce two different types of flowers at two different times of year. In the spring and throughout the summer, the larger, showy flowers that are associated with the plant are in bloom. Then a second flower, which produces the seeds, is grows that is similar to a small closed bud on shorter stems near the ground. Their long growing season and dual production is one of the many reasons this flower is so popular.
NEW JERSY: The Common Meadow Violet (Viola sororia) was designated as the official state flower of New Jersey in 1971. The state flower was originally selected in 1913, but it failed to pass before the new legislative session began. In 1963, the attempt to name the Common Meadow Violet the official state flower was again put forward and failed. In 1971, the New Jersey's garden clubs took up the charge, and the legislation designating the official state flower was finally passed. The Meadow Violet is the most common of the over 400 species of Violet found around the world. It varies in shades from blue to purple and is a perennial that blooms from March through June in New Jersey. It is so abundant in the state that it sometimes shows up as a weed in suburban lawns.
WISCONSIN: The Wood Violet (Viola papilionacea) was designated the official state flower of Wisconsin June 4, 1949. However, the Wood Violet was initially selected by an official tally of the school children of Wisconsin in 1909. The Wood Violet won against the Wild Rose, Trailing Arbutus, and White Water Lily. Wisconsin favored the Wood Violet as a symbol of the states scenic beauty long before it was made an official state symbol. It was pictured on the state stamp in 1848, a century before its official designation. The Wood Violet blooms in all but four of Wisconsin’s numerous counties. In addition to the gardens of many of the state’s residents, Wood Violets are found growing in the wet woodlands, meadow areas, and along roadsides. Found in once snow covered areas, the presence of the Wood Violet signifies spring when it blooms between March and June. The Violet is an extremely common, but nonetheless popular flower in the Eastern United States, and Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island also recognize Violets as a state symbol.
Hornberger on the top of one of the leaves
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Illinois  Search this
New Jersey  Search this
Wisconsin  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