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Doilies for bouquets

Object Details

Victorian (1837-1901)
Paper doilies for bouquets made from circular, lacy paper with scalloped edges.
Label Text
Lacy paper bouquet holders were a popular feature of posies or tussie-mussies, which were small clusters of flowers carried by ladies of the Victorian era. A typical posy of the period was characterized by tightly wound bunches of flowers positioned in concentric circles creating a rounded bouquet. The addition of perfume or spices was sometimes added. Some source of water such as moss, moistened cotton, sponges, or wet candle wicking, was included to help keep the flowers fresh longer. The stems and water source were then hidden with a doily, ribbons, or a bouquet holder in the 1870s. A doily, also called a frill collar, was used to bind and cover the stems when a bouquet holder could not be had. Unlike bouquet holders which limited the size of the posy, doilies allowed for as many blossoms as one wanted, making them better suited to wedding work, when larger bouquets were desired. The doily was the fashion until the end of the nineteenth century, when the styles for bouquets shifted to light, loose, and graceful bunches of flowers. During World War II, when paper was scarce, doilies were placed on the government’s list of “banned” items, which contributed to their disuse today.
Floral Accessories
paper (fiber product)
bouquet holders
floral designers
florist shops
Flower arrangement
See more items in
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Credit Line
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Accession number
Floral accessories
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm)
Record ID
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