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Wire frame, cross & star center on stand

Object Details

See more items in
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Date
ca. 1879-1962
Period
Victorian (1837-1901)
Accession number
1979.011.042
Description
The Cross was one of the most frequently used floral frames in the nineteenth century, and it continues to be used today. Crosses could be large or small, and were free-standing, placed on a stand or placed on top of the coffin. Crosses were also commonly combined with other floral frames, such as a crown or star. This set design was popular for religious celebrations, holidays, weddings, and funerals. Dating back to early Christianity, the cross was often used as a standard and became the chief emblem of the Christian faith. For the funeral, the cross was suitable for all ages and genders depending on the color and flowers used. Inscriptions for the cross design were meant to both proclaim the faith of the deceased and provide comfort for the bereaved, such as “We Look Beyond the Cross,” “No Cross, No Crown,” and “Simply to Thy Cross I Cling.” These phrases often evoked the comfort of popular hymns and were reminders to have faith, hope, and trust in the Lord. Cross arrangements were also popular for church holidays and other special occasions. From the late nineteenth century to 1950, Easter was the single biggest holiday for floral designs, especially the cross set piece. A cross of callas or Easter lilies became an essential decoration for the church, as well as many homes and shop windows for the holiday, a custom which is still followed today.
Dating back to early Christianity, the cross was often used as a standard and became the chief emblem of the Christian faith. For the funeral, the cross was suitable for all ages and genders depending on the color and flowers used. Inscriptions for the cross design were meant to both proclaim the faith of the deceased and provide comfort for the bereaved, such as “We Look Beyond the Cross,” “No Cross, No Crown,” and “Simply to Thy Cross I Cling.” These phrases often evoked the comfort of popular hymns and were reminders to have faith, hope, and trust in the Lord. Cross arrangements were also popular for church holidays and other special occasions. From the late nineteenth century to 1950, Easter was the single biggest holiday for floral designs, especially the cross set piece. A cross of callas or Easter lilies became an essential decoration for the church, as well as many homes and shop windows for the holiday, a custom which is still followed today.
Label Text
Set pieces or set designs were among the most popular floral arrangements in the second half of the nineteenth century. The term set piece is a usually applied to designs in a wide variety of forms, which are often symbolic in character. Shapes that expressed an overall theme for an occasion were very fashionable, such as designs made to depict the profession, associations, or hobbies of an individual. These flower arrangements were ordered for special celebrations, holidays, weddings, and funerals. Typical of the Victorian style, these designs were elaborate and massive, but unlike other forms of flower arrangement, the set piece was exclusively made by the professional florist.
Set pieces were usually made up on wire frames in the desired shape, which acted as a foundation for the floral arrangement. Commercially produced, heavy-gaged wire frames, fabricated from either plain or copper-plated wire, became available for flower arrangements between 1860 and 1864. The retail florist business was enhanced considerably by the high demand for arrangements on flower frames in the nineteenth century, and wire frames quickly became the basis of the retail florist’s inventory. The frames could be obtained for little cost to the florist, and if he managed to retrieve the skeleton after the occasion, it could be reused. Wire frames came in both straight and curved outlines and either as a box (three-dimensional frame) or flat frame. Most designs came in several sizes and could be hung or placed on a stand or were free-standing. Standard forms in wire works catalogues ranged in size from 10 to 60 inches. Outside of the standard frame designs offered in wireworks and florist’s supplies catalogues, designs could be made for almost any occasion, with some large enough to make life-sized reproductions.
Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth century floral fashions changed. Some set pieces faded in popularity by the early 1900s, but some remained favorites well into the 1940’s. Many of these same designs are still used today, but the wire frames have been replaced by shapes made from more modern materials to save the florists’ time in making up the arrangement, as well as providing water to the flowers allowing for greater longevity.
Credit Line
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of H. Weber & Sons Company.
Topic
crosses (objects)
emblems (symbols)
Floral frames
frame components
wire
associations
ceremonies
decorations
Floral Accessories
Floral decorations
floral designers
Flower arrangement
funerals
funerary objects
holidays
secret societies
societies
symbols
wirework
Medium
Wire
Dimensions
40 × 16 × 11 in. (101.6 × 40.6 × 27.9 cm)
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Type
Floral frames
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq46d19d8d9-98f4-4ced-97fb-7b13154ad3d3
Record ID
hac_1979.011.042
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