|EXCEPTIONAL 1876 CENTENNIAL QUILT MADE FROM VARIOUS FLAGS, KERCHIEFS, AND PATRIOTIC FABRICS, THE MOST ELABORATE AND RARE OF ITS KIND THAT I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED, PICTURED IN TWO OF BOB BISHOP'S BOOKS ON AMERICAN FOLK ART; SOME OF THE TEXTILES UNKNOWN IN OTHER PATRIOTIC QUILTS
|Frame Size (H x L):
|Approx. 97.5" x 114.5"
|Flag Size (H x L):
|85" x 102"
|Centennial patriotic quilt, the most elaborate that I have ever seen, illustrated in two books by Robert Bishop, including "New Discoveries in American Quilts" (1975, Dutton, New York, p. 124) and "All Flags Flying" (1986, Dutton, New York, p. 31). The quilt includes portions of a combination of rare and beautiful printed parade flags and kerchiefs, as well as exceptional patriotic calico fabrics. Portions of the canton of the design that spells 1776 - 1876 in the star field are present, which I have never before seen cut apart for use in quilts. The design incorporates the cantons of 37 star parade flags with wreath star patterns, and another variety with medallion configurations of 14 stars. The latter was probably in error, when a count of 13 stars was intended to commemorate the centennial of American independence. There are two different versions of a Declaration of Independence kerchief, one red and one blue. Several textiles with international flags are included. The centerpiece is a vertically oriented parade flag that features a standing image of George Washington next to his horse (either Nelson or Blueskin). In his hand is a letter with the words "Victory is Ours" signed Paul Jones [John Paul Jones].
In the top left corner is an exceptionally rare parade flag version of the Grand Union. Almost none of these are known to exist; perhaps just one other cotton flag in this exact form of 1876 vintage. The other was formerly part of the Mastai collection and is illustrated on page 18 of their book, "The Stars and the Stripes", Mastai, Boleslaw & Marie D’Otrange (Alfred A. Knopf , New York, 1973). The Grand Union, also known as the Continental Colors or Continental Union flag, was our national flag in the opening years of the Revolutionary War (1775-77). It is technically the first American national flag, with the British Union Flag in the canton and a complement of 13 red and white stripes, to reflect that America was still a British colony.
The woman who made this quilt almost certainly acquired the textiles while attending the 1876 Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia, the 6-month long World's Fair event, held in honor of the celebration of our nation's 100-year anniversary of independence. All of these flags and fabrics would have been available at the Expo as souvenirs.
Mounting: The quilt was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and presentation of flags and related textiles and have preserved thousands of examples.
The black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The background fabric is 100% cotton twill, black in color. There is no glazing presently. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Condition: There are various splits and losses throughout and a degree of fading that varies from modest to significant from one fabric to the next. Contact us for a full report. The rarity here supersedes all condition issues.
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