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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 12 in. (30.5 cm)
Stem: 7 in. (17.8 cm)
Flower: 5 in. (12.7 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 Rose (Rosa). A green stem with prickles, two branches with brown and green leaves, and mauve petals in concentric circles mounted on green sepals.
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.
NEW YORK: The Rose (Rosa) was designated the official state flower of New York in 1955. The school children of New York voted on a state flower as early as 1890, but the official winner was not named until 1955 by the states legislature. When it was selected, the New York legislature included all Roses in any variety, color, or combination of colors. Today, there are over 150 species and more than 20,000 hybrids available in the world, and New York can call each one their state flower. Roses grow well across the state of New York, especially the Hudson Valley region, however Rose plants do not grow wild in the state. The Rose is also the National Flower of United States, and several states have chosen varieties of the Rose as their state symbol. New York also has an official state bush. The Lilac Bush (Syringa vulgaris) was designated in 2006.
WASHINGTON DC: The American Beauty Rose (Rosa 'American Beauty') was designated the official flower of Washington, DC in 1925. This a hybrid perpetual rose was famous for its crimson color and fragrant blooms. It was brought to the United States from France by George Valentine Nash in 1875, and in 1888 was introduced to the florists for purchase. The American Beauty Rose was highly priced at two dollars per stem from the time it went on the market. Despite this, it quickly became the best-selling in America until the 1920s and was a famous greenhouse variety. Due to its price and popularity, it was called the “Million Dollar Rose.” Today, the American Beauty has faded in popularity, and is no longer grown commercially.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
District of Columbia  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
New York  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