|Circa 1880-1910 WOOL HOOKED RUG WITH AN AMERICAN FLAG AND A FORKED TAIL STREAMER BEARING WITH “DON’T TREAD ON ME” SLOGAN; THE 5 STAR COUNT, IF PURPOSEFUL, WOULD CELEBRATE THE NUMBER OF STATES THAT AFFORDED WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE; EX-AMERICA HURRAH, ILLUSTRATED IN THEIR 1975 TEXT “HOOKED & SEWN RUGS”
|Frame Size (H x L):||39.25" h x 49.25" w x 1" d|
|Flag Size (H x L):||39.25" h x 49.25" w x 1" d|
|Wool hooked rug with patriotic theme and beautiful design. Note the artistic quality of the waving American flag on a black staff, capped with a spear-shaped finial. Canted to the right, the billowing, red and blue, forked-tail streamer bears text that reads "Don't. Tread. On. Me .." The device is framed in a rectangular window with step-down corners. Bordered with a leaf and vine design, the presentation is at the same time antique and modernistic. This is accentuated by the creative, off-balance use of color around the perimeter, which seems to lean with the flag from the use of the tan, black, rust brown, and grey scraps of fabric, that probably reflects whatever remained available to the maker. The design demonstrates the influence of the early Arts & Crafts period, that began in the 1880’s and transitioned into Art Nouveau, which it strongly influenced.
The “Don’t Tread on Me” slogan was popular on early American flags of the Revolutionary War era. The most famous of these is the design attributed American Forefather Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina, with a coiled rattlenake on a yellow ground, that he created to serve as the Standard of the Commander In Chief Of The Continental U.S. Navy, followed by the mythicized “First Navy Jack,” with rattlesnake extending across field of red and white stripes, and the flag of the Culpepper Minutemen of Patrick Henry’s 1st Virginia Regiment of 1775, with a coiled rattlesnake on a white field. The interesting thing about the use of the accompanying motto is that it doesn’t seem to have been popular in the 19th century. Though flags in all three designs appear in an engraving for a historic flag display in the enormous "Main Building" at the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia, the massive World’s Fair held in 1876 to celebrate 100 years of American independence, actual flags in these patterns were almost never produced, nor the motifs and slogan popularized, until the mid-late 20th century.
In waving images of the flag, the count of stars is often meaningless. Though it’s difficult to be sure, the count of 5 in this instance seems almost purposeful. If that is the case, a date of 1910 is a possibility. In this particular year, five states afforded women the right to vote. When examining the way the total was calculated, the situation can be a bit confusing. Some territories granted suffrage for elections prior to becoming states. In some cases, it was revoked, then reinstituted. The Wyoming Territory was the first to allow women to vote, in 1869, followed by the Utah Territory in 1870 (revoked in 1887, reenacted in 1895), the Washington Territory in 1883 (revoked in 1887, reenacted in 1910), and Colorado in 1893. While Idaho did, in fact, become the fifth state in 1896, Washington had revoked the right by this time, and did not reinstitute suffrage until 1910. Graphic depictions of American flags, altered for the Suffrage movement, seem to have no trouble in presenting the correct number of states. Some versions of a classic postcard illustrate a 13-stripe flag with 4 stars, listing Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho, clearly excluding Washington, which basically got out of line, then back in, to become the fifth in 1910. When California adopted suffrage a year later, in 1911, flags were once again made to celebrate the event, celebrating its addition as the sixth state, by adding a sixth star. Though use of the “Don’t Tread on Me” motto is not known to have been common among the verbiage of the suffrage platform, it was certainly fitting, and it was, in fact, used. A terrific image of a parade in Washington, D.C., on March 3rd, 1913, illustrates a banner being carried by the Just Government League of Maryland, in the form of the flag in the design of the Culpepper Minutemen, with their name replacing that of the unit, along the top, above a coiled rattlesnake, flanked by the words “Liberty or Death,” with “Don’t Tread on Me” arched beneath. Clearly the words of colonial America in the Revolutionary War, were not lost on Maryland suffragettes. In addition, a calendar produced to advertise the Beneficial Insurance Company in 1903, shows a woman in a purple gown, on a green background—England’s suffrage movement colors—carrying a golden yellow Gadsden flag—the primary color of the movement in America. Typically illustrating Lady Columbia, the figure was changed to a Gibson girl-like image. Though suffrage is not specifically mentioned in the ad, the message of the firm is quite clear.
Whatever the case may be, with regard to the used of 5 stars, the composition and colors are the rug are wonderful, as-is the patriotic theme. The textile is a fantastic representation of American folk art in this medium.
Made of wool, the rug was constructed sometime between 1880 and 1910. This exact rug was illustrated on p. 66 of “American Hooked and Sewn Rugs” by Joel and Kate Kopp (America Hurrah Antiques), (1975, E.P. Dutton & Co, New York). The Kopps date the rug circa 1890.
Provenance: Joel & Kate Kopp (America Hurrah Antiques); Collection of Peter and Barbara Goodman (acquired in January of 1953).
Mounting: The rug was professionally mounted on black cotton twill. A custom, wooden framework was created for further support, and the background fabric was wrapped around it, so that approx. 1” of depth is visible around the outer edge.
Condition: A scattering of minor repairs constitute less than 1% of the composition.
|Collector Level:||Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything|
|Flag Type:||Sewn flag|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1880|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1910|
|War Association:||1898 Spanish American War|
|Price:||Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281|