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Catalog Data

Gold-washed silver
4 7/16 × 1 1/2 in. (11.3 × 3.8 cm)
Aesthetic Movement
Bouquet holders
London, England, possibly
ca. 1860-1870
Victorian (1837-1901)
Bouquet holder with cone-shaped vase of silver with gold wash and clamp opening. The vase is divided in three sections with an applied rope-work. Around the lip of the vase is a row neoclassical palm leaves creating a crown-like edging. Two graduated rows of stamped and applied classical palmettes on the upper section and a row of wheat branches in the lower section decorates the vase typical of the neoclassical fashions of the second half of the nineteenth century. Inside the upper section for the vase, a unique double pincer snap-catch mechanism engages a pair of cast metal elements with a stylized leaf design to hold the bouquet in place. There is no evidence of an attachment for a chain and pin. A hole in the bottom suggests an attachment of a chain ending in a finger ring, however both are missing.
Label Text:
Flowers used for personal adornment were a popular, almost mandatory, fashion accessory in the nineteenth century. Small bouquets, called nosegays, posies, or tussie mussies were carried by debutantes, matrons, and girls. They were often tied with ribbon or placed in a bouquet holder depending on the tastes and fashions. In 1840, Queen Adelaide introduced the fashion of tucking a small posy into a high waistband or sash, and Queen Victoria popularized the bouquet holder. These small accessories, also known as posy holders, ‘porte-bouquets’, and ‘bouquetiers’ were both decorative, as well as useful to keep the flowers fresh throughout the occasion. When the fashion of carrying hand bouquets in decorative holders caught the fancy of the wealthy, holders were quickly copied and mass produced in a variety of sizes, materials, and embellishments. The holders might be commissioned from a jeweler or purchased from a florist shop. They were usually fitted with a pin on a chain to place through the bouquet after it was set in the holder to secure it. It might also have a ring on a chain to put on the finger should the holder drop it from the hand. Some holders were fitted with a concealed stand which could be released by a spring, allowing the bouquet holder to rest upright on the table. Corsages and nosegays were a popular gift in the mid- to late 1800s among friends and suitors. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, their popularity gave way to bouquets of long-stemmed flowers (the latest horticultural development) loosely tied with ribbons.
"PATENT" engraved on snap catch mechanism.
bouquet holders  Search this
bouquetiers  Search this
porte-bouquets  Search this
porte-fleurs  Search this
Posy holders  Search this
silver  Search this
tussie-mussies  Search this
costume accessories  Search this
decorative arts  Search this
fashion  Search this
Victoriana  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Frances Jones Poetker.
Accession number:
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See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens