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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm)
Stem: 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
Flower: 4 1/4 in. (10.8 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 Red Clover (Trifolium pretense). Two blossoms with red tips and green bases in hemispherical shape with green sepals flaring out on a slender green stalk meet at single stem with three more sepals flaring out at this point.
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.
VERMONT: The Red Clover (Trifolium pretense) was designated the official state flower of Vermont on February 1, 1895. Vermont was inspired to select a state flower by the “National Garland of Flowers” to be exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Their choice was intended to represent the uniqueness of the state and its independent nature. Red Clover flowers grow in small, dome-shaped clusters of petals that range in color from pink to red. It was highly prized for its ability to attract pollinators, as well as its medicinal properties. At one point there were over 10 million acres of Red Clover in the northern United States. Red Clover, integral to the states agriculture, is seen throughout Vermont in the hayfields and along the roadsides. Clover was planted by farmers not only to attract pollinators, but it was also used to feed cows and other livestock. It was a natural choice for state flower because of its ability to represent Vermont’s scenic countryside and its massive farms, specifically its dairy farms. Red Clover, however, is not native to Vermont. It was brought over by the English colonists and distributed extensively in the northeastern United States and is used as a winter annual in the southeastern United States. Today, Red Clover is less prominent, as it does not fit well into current crop rotations. However, it continues to thrive in the wild in the chilly Vermont climate.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Vermont  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