|Small broadside/flyer, printed on paper and laid over fabric; an original, Civil War, patriotic item with interesting graphic features. This is one of a host of similar, small, paper items made in the fervor of wartime. Most likely it was intended for use as a book mark, perhaps for a small Bible of the kind typically carried by soldiers. It is a rare example, however, that I have not previously encountered.
The illustration includes an American national flag with 34 stars arranged in the form of one large star, with 4 stars outside the basic pattern and a spread-winged eagle in the very center. This is a variant of what is called the "Great Star" or "Great Luminary" pattern.
Among flag collectors, the Great Star configuration is the Rolls Royce of all 19th century geometric patterns. It probably came about shortly before 1818, when Congressman Peter Wendover of New York requested that Captain Samuel Reid, a War of 1812 Naval hero, help to create a new design that would become the third official format of the Stars & Stripes. The primary concern of ship captains was that the signal remained easily recognized on the open seas. Reid�s concept of placing all the stars in a star-shaped pattern would have kept the constellation in roughly the same format as the number of states grew and more stars were added, in a distinct design that could be quickly identified. Though his proposal was rejected by President Monroe, due to the increased cost of arranging the stars in this manner, the Great Star was produced by anyone willing to make it and was especially popular between the 18-teens and the 1876 centennial of American Independence.
Above the flag is a commissioning pennant style streamer, finished at the end with a tassel and with tasseled cord wrapped around the staff at the hoist. The word "Union" appears in the blue, but it is interesting to note that the basic design is that of the Confederate commissioning pennant, meant to accompany the 1st Confederate national flag (a.k.a., the Stars & Bars). The one obvious difference is that there would be 7 or 11 stars in place of the word "Union" on this Confederate Navy signal. It is likely that the artist who conceived the flyer had no knowledge of what that pennant looked like.
Mounting: The gilded American molding has a rippled profile and dates to the period between 1830 and 1860. This is a pressure mount between 100% cotton and U.V. protective acrylic. The black fabric has been washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye, which was heat-treated for the same purpose. |
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
||Phone: (717) 502-1281
||19th Century (1801-1900)|
||There are no significant condition issues.|
||Frame: 6" x 8" Flag: 2.5" x 4.75"
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