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  FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES TERRITORY OF HAWAII, THAT WOULD EVENTUALLY BECOME THE FLAG OF THE STATE; EXHIBITS AN UNUSUAL VARIANT OF THE BRITISH UNION FLAG AND GREAT COLORS, MADE circa 1900-1915, SIGNED “LOCKWOOD”

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 39.5" x 58"
Flag Size (H x L): 26.75" x 46"
Description....:
Flag of Hawaii, with 8 stripes in the expected order by color. Made sometime between approximately 1900 and 1915, when the Hawaiian Islands were still a territory of the United States, roughly 45-60 years before it would gain statehood.

The canton and stripes of the flag are made of wool bunting, that has been pieced and joined by machine. There is a sailcloth canvas binding along the hoist, which original bore two white metal grommets, one of which is now absent. The top and bottom edges have been bound with twill cotton tape, applied with a zigzag machine stitch. This is especially unusual. No-doubt added for support, this was probably commissioned by the owner of the flag, as an extra measure of reinforcement, either at or perhaps after the time of purchase.

Note how the Union flag is not properly presented. The red portion of the Cross of St. George should be much wider, with the white merely included as fimbriation. The red and white crosses of St. Patrick and St. Andrew are neither properly offset, nor properly proportioned. Instead, all of the bars of the respective devices are thin, nearly equal, and centered. A large part of the reason that the flag shows its age and uniqueness, is attributable to this fact. The twill tape-bound edges also influence its presentation.

The Hawaiian flag first appeared in various designs, similar to its modern form, around 1816. It took on the basic design presented here in 1845, and has effectively been Hawaii's flag ever since. The one brief exception occurred between February and April of 1893, when the monarchy was over-thrown and the United States offered protection as a new government was ushered in. So over a period of approximately 175 years, the flag has thus represented the Kingdom, Protectorate, Republic, and Territory of Hawaii, as well as the state. Very few flags have achieved such longevity.

The flag of Hawaii is the only U.S. state flag to feature the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, a remnant of the period in Hawaiian history when it was associated with the British Empire. The field is composed of eight stripes alternating white, red, blue, white, red, blue, white, red. These represent the eight major islands (Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Lānai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, and Niihau). Other versions of the flag have only seven stripes, probably representing the islands with the exception of Kahoolawe or Niihau, or 9 stripes, to include all of the above plus Nihoa. There are actually 137 islands in total, 7 of which are inhabited today. The present arrangement of the stripes was standardized in 1843, although variants with other combinations of the same three colors are known, and even occasionally still used.

Unlike some nations, the Kingdom of Hawaii was not formally under British rule. The establishment of a strong relationship between the two nations began with the visits of Captain George Vancouver in 1792. Vancouver had been a crew member aboard the voyages of Captain James Cook, who discovered Hawaii in 1778. While Cook was killed by indigenous residents on his third visit, "Vancouver was a friendly, peaceable man, who made a deep impression on the Hawaiian people through his wisdom and warmth. He tried to intervene in the interminable inter-island wars between the Hawaiians. He notably refused to sell them arms for fear of escalating the civil war. [Vancouver] recognised one of the chief's as primary, who asked for British protection in return. In 1794, the Union Jack was hoisted up a flag pole. This claim was never ratified, but friendly relations continued regardless." (Source: https://www.britishempire.co.uk/maproom/hawaii.htm) In this manner Hawaii became what is known as a British protectorate, without having to give way to formal colonization.

This particular flag is signed along the hoist, on the reverse of the binding, near the top, with a black-painted stencil that reads “Lockwood.” This probably ties the flag to the family of a man by the name of J.T. Lockwood of White Plains, New York, a Civil War veteran of the 4th New York Heavy Artillery, furniture-maker, undertaker, and banker. I previously owned a highly unusual flag of the same era in which this Hawaiian flag was produced, with a fun inscription that read: "Stolen from J.T. Lockwood." A tag attached to the flag contained a similar message. On one side it read: "Stolen from Dick Lockwood; White Plains, NY; 1891-1928.” As and active member of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic—the primary veteran’s association for the Union Army), it appears that the Lockwoods may have lent the flag for various events. I have a strong feeling that Lockwood was an early flag collector. There is no proof, but I developed this gut instinct before the Hawaiian flag surfaced. The other flag was a very rare, Rev. War design, identified by flag historian, Rear-Admiral George H. Prebble, who discussed it and provided a small sketch in his 1917-published, two-volume book: "Origin and History of The American Flag" (1917, Philadelphia, Nicholas Brown). It otherwise only appeared in an English engraving, owned by Prebble, no copies of which actually survive anywhere today. Lockwood apparently discovered Prebble’s book and had the flag commissioned. His markings of ownership are a little extreme, if also humorous. The stencil is similarly “overdone,” very large for such a small flag. It is also precisely what one might expect to find on a piece of furniture of that era, to denote the maker, recipient, or destination for shipping. Because few flags are so prominently marked, it may be more than mere coincidence.

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 background is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. The mount was placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed, Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. Protective acrylic (Plexiglas).

Condition: There are a few tiny holes and very minor staining. The upper grommet is missing, as previously noted.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1900
Latest Date of Origin: 1915
State/Affiliation: Hawaii
War Association:
Price: SOLD
 

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