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  STEVENSGRAPH BOOK MARK / RIBBON GLORIFYING ULYSSES S. GRANT AND HIS VICTORIES AT RICHMOND, VICKSBURG, AND FORT DONELSON, WITH HIS PORTRAIT IN MILITARY GARB, MADE BY THOMAS STEVENS, WHO INVENTED THE PROCESS BY WHICH THESE WERE PRODUCED

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 11" x 5.75"
Flag Size (H x L): 7" x 1.75"
Description....:
Stevensgraph (woven silk picture), in the form of a book mark, made to celebrate President and General Ulysses S. Grant. Made sometime between his 1869 inauguration and his passing in 1885, this particular example was produced by Thomas Stevens, a weaver in Coventry, England, who adapted a Jacquard loom to weave these highly intricate and colorful silk pictures. In 1862 he was producing four different designs, but by the late 1880's he had approximately 900 varieties. Many were bookmarks, but there were greeting cards, postcards, and other formats.

While the vast majority of Stevensgraphs with patriotic American themes in the marketplace today were produced in New Jersey, which became a mecca for embroidery work and the production of other decorative textiles in the United States during the late 19th century, this one was made by Stevens' own company. It may have been woven at the 1876 Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia, which served as the nucleus of the celebration of the 100-year anniversary of American independence and occurred during Grant's second presidential term. Lasting for a duration of 6 months, this was our nation's first World's Fair. Stevens had a booth at the Expo and wove ribbons on site. Such events showcased modern technology of precisely this sort and presented a ripe marketplace for the byproducts thereof.

The form is straight with a triangular wedge at the bottom. The design centers around Grant's image, which is beautifully executed. Above are notable Union victories that occurred under his leadership, including "Richmond," followed by the date of 1865, when that campaign and the war both ended, along with "Vicksburg" [Mississippi] and "Fort Donelson" [Tennessee]. Below are words from a famous quote, uttered by Grant: "I will fight it out on this line." This is extrapolated from his actual words, that appeared in a May 11th, 1864 dispatch to Washington, sent during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, which actually read: "I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer."

At the bottom is a red and blue banner of some nature, probably intended to be a commission pennant, with crossed American flags and naval jacks, surrounding a circular medallion with an eagle that was probably meant to represent The Great Seal of the United States.

The pinkish-red and cornflower blue colors are wonderful. These are complimented by a matching blue silk tassel.

Mounting: The textile was mounted and framed within 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, convex molding dates to the period between 1830 and 1870. To this a modern molding with a rippled profile, black with gold highlights, was added as a cap. The background is 100% cotton, black in color, that was washed and treated for colorfastness. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is U.V. protective.

Condition: Overall excellent. There is extremely minor oxidation, but there are no significant condition issues.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1869
Latest Date of Origin: 1885
State/Affiliation:
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD
 

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