|EXTRAORDINARY SILK FLAG MADE FOR THE 1876 CENTENNIAL INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION IN PHILADELPHIA, WITH WOVEN TEXT ON EITHER SIDE, PROBABLY MADE AT ONE OF THE FRENCH EXHIBITS AT THE FAIR AND SOLD AS A SOUVENIR
|Frame Size (H x L):||Approx. 8.5" x 10.25"|
|Flag Size (H x L):||3.75" x 4.75"|
|American national flag, made of silk, for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. This was our nation's first World's Fair and massive event, held from May through November in of that year in celebration of 100 years of American independence. The flag is woven in the manner of a Stevensgraph, a woven pictorial panel. The process of making these was new to the textile industry and no-doubt chosen to be highlighted in the many displays of technological advancement that were the fair's primary theme. Most likely this was actually woven at the exposition itself. The man credited with the invention of the process, Thomas Stevens, actually brought one of his modified, jacquard weave looms, and demonstrated its use. This particular example appears to have been made by one of his competitors, probably among the exhibits of France.
The flag has 36 stars, which is a number that does not relate to its period of use. The star counts on some small flags were occasionally selected for convenience and graphics, rather than to represent the correct number of states at the time of their making. Woven onto the red stripes on one side of this example is the following text: “Philadelphia International Exhibition; America and France; Union For Ever; Souvenir.” Woven into the white stripes on the reverse side is the following: “Philadelphia International Exhibition; Union For Ever; 1776 Centennial 1876; Momento."
This is the only known variety of parade flag that I know of with this manner of construction. I also know of no other Stevensgraph-like textile that displays images or lettering on both sides of a single length of fabric. These flags originally came on an unusually nice staff, varnished red, capped with a tiny brass finial. This was of very high quality when compared to almost all other parade flags of any period, most of which are affixed to a simple, unfinished wooden dowel. For some reason, the staffs of these woven silk flags are almost always absent.
Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed in our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.
The gilded molding dates to the period between 1830 and 1850. The background is black cotton twill. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is U.V. protective.
Condition: There is very minor foxing and staining throughout the body of the flag, accompanied by more significant discoloration along the hoist end, where the flag was once affixed to a wooden staff. There are tint tears along the hoist end between the 3rd and 4th stripes and between the 10th and 11th stripes. The colors and overall condition are excellent when compared to most surviving examples.
|Collector Level:||Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts|
|Flag Type:||Parade flag|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1876|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1876|
|Price:||Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281|