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Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags and Painted Furniture - RED & WHITE COVERLET, MADE FOR THE 1876 CENTENNIAL EXPOSITION IN PHILADELPHIA, FEATURING MEMORIAL HALL ART MUSEUM
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  RED & WHITE COVERLET, MADE FOR THE 1876 CENTENNIAL EXPOSITION IN PHILADELPHIA, FEATURING MEMORIAL HALL ART MUSEUM
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This wonderful jacquard-woven, tied Beiderwand weave coverlet was made for the Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. Made of wool and cotton and executed in red and white of cotton and wool, the graphics feature the Memorial Hall Art Gallery, flanked by two patriotic eagles and with an exaggeratedly large depiction of the statue of Lady Columbia that serves as the finial atop the domed cupula. She is positioned between two American flags and holds aloft two wreaths of laurel leaves, extending a message of peace and welcome to the 37 nations that took part. Above this is a folk style rendition of the sun with a human face and extending rays. Ivy, thistles and other flora surround the central image. Text around the perimeter is viewable from both sides and reads "Centennial.", "1776-1876." and "Memorial Hall.". Like most Pennsylvania coverlets of the mid-19th century, this one is two sided (often called "winter - summer"). This may have actually been woven at the fair as part, which, like other events of its kind, showed off modern technology.

Located in Fairmont Park, the imposing building is one of only two structures that remain today from the six-month-long World's Fair event that served as the nation's official celebration of our 100-year anniversary of independence. More than 200 of them were built, the largest of which covered 21 acres. Most which were bolted together and were meant to be temporary.

Memorial Hall was designed by Herman J. Schwarzmann, the chief engineer of the Fairmount Park Commission. Construction began on 6 July 1874 and was completed for the opening ceremonies on the 10th of May, 1876, at a cost of $1.5 million dollars. President Ulysses S. Grant and other dignitaries presided over the event, which was the first major world's fair to be hosted in the United States.

The exterior is finished with granite and the interior is decorated with marble and ornamental plaster. The building measures 365 x 210 feet and is 150 feet tall, capped with an iron and glass dome. Surmounting the dome is a 23-foot-tall statue of who actually holds just one laurel branch (unlike the image on the coverlet, which illustrates two). At the corners of the dome stand four statues symbolizing industry, commerce, agriculture and mining.

Memorial Hall was designed to house the Centennial Exposition's art exhibits. The exposition received so many art contributions that a separate annex was built to house them all. After the Exposition, Memorial Hall reopened in 1877 as the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art and also served as the first home of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which remained there until 1929. An example of this coverlet resides in the museum's own collection (http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/108249.html?mulR=28).

Mounting: The flag has not yet been mounted. We employ professional staff with masters degrees in textile conservation and can attend to all of your mounting and framing needs.
   
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E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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