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Catalog Data

Dried flowers, card board, wood
27 × 21 3/4 × 5 in. (68.6 × 55.2 × 12.7 cm)
Dried flower arrangements
United States
ca. 1875
Victorian (1837-1901)
Framed arrangement made from dried grasses. Assorted dried grasses encircle a bird’s nest bracketed by Chinese beetles and a scallop shell. The nest contains a cardboard image of a blue-bird, which was an easily recognized symbol of happiness in the Victorian era. A sign above the bird reads “Home Sweet Home." The arrangement is on a black fabric ground inside a wooden shadowbox.
Label Text:
Dried grasses, immortelles and everlastings were used throughout the nineteenth century to make winter arrangements in baskets, under glass domes, bouquets, and on variety of floral frames. Commercially-produced ornamental grasses and everlasting flowers were sold by the bunch, pound or hundred by florists and in catalogs. They were good for winter months when fresh flowers were limited, and they were in high demand for decorative purposes around holidays. Florists would also make up arrangements and set pieces from ornamental grasses and immortelles and sell them through their shops and catalogs. Some designs for funerals were made from already dried flowers and grasses known as immortelles or “everlastings” to last on the grave or be taken home after the funeral. These items satisfied the demand for more permanent floral displays such as designs for the cemetery, while still being made from natural flowers and grasses rather than artificial ones. These dried funeral flower arrangements were often saved and kept in shadow boxes or in glass cases. These mementos from the funeral service became part of elaborate memorial shrines in the parlor of many middle-class homes. By the early 1800s, the availability and versatility of glass made it possible to better display and protect souvenirs and memorabilia. Behind glass, the Victorians were able to exhibit dried floral arrangements. The Victorians love of nature was also celebrated as decorative arts under the glass.
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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