Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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  COLORFUL WEST POINT WINDOWN BANNER OF THE WWI ERA (U.S. INVOLVEMENT 1917-1918), OR SHORTLY THEREAFTER, WITH STRONG COLORS AND GRAPHICS

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 19" x 16"
Flag Size (H x L): 12" x 9"
Description....:
Small window banner, made for the United States Military Academy at West Point. Printed in a saturated shade of golden yellow, complemented by red, white, rust, and green, the black felt ground creates great contrast. Probably made in the WWI era, or just after, perhaps through the 1920’s, the graphics consist of the Academy's coat of arms, above which “West Point” appears in old English lettering, and below which is “N.Y.” appears in a Roman font.

The crest consists of a spread winged eagle, perched upon a federal shield with 13 stars, grasping arrows in both talons, with oak leaves to the eagle’s proper right and olive branches to its proper left.* The oak leaves represent courage and strength, while the oak leaves symbolize peace. Also protruding from the eagle’s clasp is a billowing streamer that reads: "Duty Honor, Country" to the left, the Academy's motto, with “West Point,” followed by the date of its founding in Roman numerals, "1802," and “U.S.M.A.” A sword with a trefoil-tipped scabbard, and the helmet of Athena, Greek Goddess of War, are superimposed upon the shield. The eagle and the helm both face the oak leaves. Arrows in both directions further illustrate the protective and war-associated purpose. All of the above appears within a three-sided border of twisted, gold rope, decorated with tassels and fringe. There is a gold felt binding along the hoist, applied with machine stitching.

This is a great, early printing, produced in the manner of the first felt pennants, which appeared around 1908. Made to be hung in the window of a cadet’s family, the production and use of this particular form probably emerged with that of son-in-service banners, in 1917, which were to be displayed when a family had a child in military service during wartime. A West Point banner like this would likely be hung beside a service banner, but could, of course, be hung outside times of war, as well, as a reflection of admission to the Academy.

It is of interest to note that I previously owned another version of this textile, with the Arms of the United States as the featured image, in the center, as opposed to the seal of West Point. Production of these may have continued into WWII (U.S. involvement 1941-45), though this particular example seems earlier. An almost identical version was made for the presidential campaign of Catholic, New Yorker Al Smith in 1928, with his portrait image cradled between crossed flags. A very similar design, in the same basic scale, yet with a slightly different border, was produced with varying, central images and text, for the 1936 and 1940 presidential campaigns of F.D.R.

* Please note that the details of the arrows, oak leaves, and olive branches are difficult to discern in this rendering.

Mounting: The banner 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 ivory colored background is 100% hemp or a blended hemp and cotton fabric (we use both universally). The two part frame consists of a cove-shaped molding that is very dark brown in color, almost black, with reddish undertones and highlights, to which a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed, Italian molding was added as a cap. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. glass.

Condition: There is minor pigment loss at points in the crest where the banner was folded.
Collector Level: Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1917
Latest Date of Origin: 1928
State/Affiliation: New York
War Association: WW 1
Price: SOLD
 

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