During the Victorian Age wreaths gained popularity as ladies’ work and were created using a variety of mediums including feathers, wool, cotton and hair. By the 1880s, wreaths within shadow boxes for interior décor were incredibly popular; patterns were featured by ladies’ journals, and several companies selling patterns emerged.
Wreaths were created for occasions such as weddings, as a form of mourning, and for art’s sake. The later half of the 18th century saw a rise of interest in botany. Alongside bloomed an interest in the symbolic language of flowers, which was known as floriography. Floriographies, published volumes dedicated to plants and their symbolic meanings, were a popular purchase all through the 1800s. In Victorian England and North America it was popular to send friends, family, and romantic interests, bouquets or arrangements of flowers to convey a particular sentiment or message. The language of flowers was not forgotten by Bruce County wreath makers; more than beautifully done, many wreaths contain symbolic or thematic meanings.
This wreath, created by Mrs. James Nickson of Arran Township in 1911, features dahlias, furled irises, chrysanthemums, and heliotrope. These flowers represented dignity, hope, truth and devoted affection.