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Catalog Data

Wrought iron, paint
49 1/2 × 18 in. (125.7 × 45.7 cm)
Art Nouveau (1890-1910)
Plant stands
ca. 1890-1910
Art Nouveau (1890-1910)
Square plant stand with two tiers made from wrought iron painted green. The stand is slightly pyramidal, as its legs angle out slightly at the base. The stretchers on each side have three elements with wave pattern. The surface of legs and stretcher elements have a pock-marked hand-tooled texture. There is applied decoration to area between the first shelf and table top. The top is in the shape of foliage, possibly cattails. The foliate motif and the sinuous lines of the stretchers are characteristic of the Art Nouveau style. This plant stand is a mixture between an étagère and a gueridon: a dainty table with an additional shelf for display. This format and the style were both popular in the late nineteenth century.
Label Text:
The Victorian love of nature and display were combined with the plant stand. Both decorative and storage space, plant stands displayed botanical specimens both in and out of doors in the nineteenth century. They came in a variety of sizes and shapes that might include multiple tiers, elaborate structures, decorative features, or separate surfaces for each plant or flower. Plants stands were often placed on porches and verandahs, where they provided transition between house and garden. These stands were also found throughout the home, bringing nature indoors and adding color and scents to the room. They might be the focal point, placed in corners, or other areas in need of visual interest. Fragrant varieties of flowers and potted plants, such as palms, were popular choices for plant stands in the nineteenth century. Flowers and greenery were often mixed together on its shelves, either grown in pots on saucers or displayed in decorative vases. The stands and their plants could be rented from the florist or nursery for special occasions. In addition to their decorative appeal, they were also an important tool for the gardener. Plant stands served as home for the plants more susceptible to frost and weather that were brought in to a winter garden in the home, conservatory, greenhouse, or other outbuildings.
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Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens