|STEVENSGRAPH RIBBON WITH A WONDERFUL PORTRAIT OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON AND GREAT FALLS ON THE PASSAIC RIVER, MADE TO CELEBRATE THE CENETNNIAL OF THE TOWN OF PATERSON, NEW JERSEY IN 1892
|Frame Size (H x L):||14.5" x 7.5"|
|Flag Size (H x L):||9.75" x 2.5"|
|Stevensgraph (woven silk picture), in the form of a book mark, made and signed by the John Best & Co. in Patterson, New Jersey (signature woven on the reverse). The technology to weave these highly detailed silk textiles was developed by Thomas Stevens, a weaver in Coventry, England, who adapted a Jacquard loom to weave colorful pictures from silk. By 1862 he was producing four different designs and by the late 1880's he had approximately 900. Many were bookmarks, but there were greeting cards, postcards, and other formats.
The form is straight with a triangular wedge at the bottom, punctuated by a red silk tassel. The colors are striking and the detail and design are excellent. The finely executed imagery features a wonderful portrait likeness of Alexander Hamilton on an interesting shaded ground that creates and aura about him. Above “Patterson. NJ” appears in red, fanciful lettering and below, in a varied series of blue and red fonts are the words “Founded by Alex. Hamilton; Centennial; 1792 1892.” Along the top edge is a red, white, and blue rope border, followed by a spread-winged eagle carrying the Stars & Stripes. At the bottom, situated in the wedge, is an image of Great Falls on the Passaic River, spanned by The Passaic River Bridge, which was built in the same year that this textile was made.
In 1792, Alexander Hamilton formed an investment group called the Society of Useful Manufactures (the "SUM") whose funds would be used to develop the first planned industrial city in the United States, that would later to become the City of Paterson. Hamilton believed that America needed to reduce its dependence on foreign goods and should instead develop its own industries. A mecca of textile production, the town contained some of the country's oldest textile mills and businesses.
Some of the early industry in Paterson was powered by the 77-foot high Great Falls and a system of water raceways that harnessed its power. The district originally included dozens of mill buildings and other manufacturing structures associated with the textile industry. Firearms production and locomotive manufacturing would eventually follow. In the latter half of the 1800's, silk production became the dominant industry and formed the basis of Paterson's most prosperous period, earning it the nickname "Silk City." The first Stevensgraphs made in America seem to have been produced here. Paterson was also the site of historic labor unrest that fueled some of our nation’s earliest legislation regarding child labor laws, workplace safety, minimum wage, and reasonable working hours.
Mounting: The 2-part frame consists of a flat-profile, gilded American molding that dates to the mid-19th century, to which a modern, rippled profile molding, black with gold highlights, was added as a cap. The textile has been hand-stitched hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.
Condition: Excellent, with only minor loss in the tassel.
|Collector Level:||Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1892|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1892|