This patriotic toile is copperplate printed onto a balanced plain woven ground with Z-spun linen warps and S-spun cotton wefts. According to Florence M. Montgomery in "Printed Textiles: English and American Cottons and Linens 1700-1850 (1970, The Viking Press), this mix of fibers is typical of surviving examples of this toile.

The portion of the red intaglio print shown in the fragment portrays George Washington in regimentals leading a chariot accompanied by a Grecian goddess. His arrival is announced by two Native Americans blowing into trumpets strung with a striped flag and Franklin's segmented snake flag. Calvary officers are seen in the background. On the left stands a Liberty Tree. The paper is nailed to the tree upside down that says "Stamp Act." While the tree on the left and the other framing leafs on the right are oak, an evergreen branch is grafted onto the Liberty Tree. At the upper right of the fragment, the bottom of another motif is seen: the feet of Benjamin Franklin and Liberty. Liberty wears sandals, which fits with her allegorical persona, but Benjamin Franklin wears house slippers.

There are evidence of seams along all edges of the fragment with 1/4 inch seam allowances. While most of the thread has been removed, a small Z-spun 2-ply S piece remains in the stitch line along the bottom of the fragment.

Montgomery dates the plate to 1785 based on a mention of it in a 1785 letter by Tommy Shippen (281). However, this particular copy could date later as copperplates were often reused, especially for popular patterns, such as this.

The piece is accompanied by a typed note saying, "___ of printed cotton is said to have come from Mt. Vernon. Similar _____ls to be found in room from Haverh[a]ll, Mass., in American Wing of [the Metr]opolitan Museum. The pamphlet describes it as follows: 'The bed hang[ing] and the covering of the wing chair are made of one of the old printed l_____ manufactured especially for American consumption, amoun the allegorica[l des]igns on which are the be found figures of Washington and Franklin, the "L[ibe]rty Tree," etc. The Washington portrait was taken from the mezzotint by [Va]lentin Green, scraped in [1]781, after the portrait in oil painted from memory by John Trumbull of Conn. shortly after his arrival in _____ in 1780, which is hung in the adjoin[ing] room, along with other bequests _______ Charles Allen Munn. The Franklin in cl[ea]rly after one of the terracotta {meda}llions modeled by Jean Baptiste Nini, [the m]anager of the ter[racotta] fact[ory of] Le Ray de Chaumont, host to Frankli[n dur]ing his nine years ___ at Pas _____ There is a record of a material of si[milar] design that covered the entire ______ an old New England room.' Accord[ing to] Mrs. Little of the Textile __________om in the Metropolitan in was mad[e about] 1800."

Date

c. 1785 - 1800


Material/Technique

Copperplate printed linen/cotton


Dimensions

Overall (H x W): 15 1/8 in. x 31 1/4 in. (38.42 cm x 79.38 cm)


Credit

Gift of Jeanne Shields (Mrs. Nelson T. Shields III), Vice Regent Emerita for Delaware, 2013


Object Number

M-5316


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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