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Catalog Data

Glass, wood, plant material
Base: 1 1/2 × 16 × 8 1/2 in. (3.8 × 40.6 × 21.6 cm)
Dome: 14 × 14 1/2 × 7 in. (35.6 × 36.8 × 17.8 cm)
Dried flower arrangements
Bell jars
Victorian (1837-1901)
Dried arrangement with bird’s nest under glass dome. The arrangement features dried mosses, flowers, and grasses as well a small bird’s nest with three white eggs. It is displayed on an oval, wooden base with a hand-blown glass dome, also called a bell jar or cloche.
Label Text:
To beautify their homes, ladies engaged in handicrafts known as “fancywork.” Ornaments with floral motifs were created out of all kinds of materials, from beads to feathers to human hair. Flowers, cones, pods, acorns, seeds, mosses, and ornamental grasses were often collected and dried, later to be arranged into winter bouquets, crafted into holiday displays, and preserved in shadowboxes or under glass domes. 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 collections of dried flowers, seashell works, wax flowers and fruit, and even art formed of human hair. Dried floral arrangements saved from special occasions such as bouquets from a wedding or funeral could be preserved under a dome. 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. Gift of Frances Jones Poetker.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens