I love the internet!
A few weeks ago I did a post about Centennial fabrics from 1876 and showed a picture of cotton printed that year with a portrait in a wreath. I identified the portrait as the Marquis de Lafayette, a revolutionary war hero who visited the United States in the mid-1820s. The Centennial print is supposed to be a reproduction of an earlier print done for Lafayette's return tour.
Detail of a nine patch about 1880
See it by clicking here:
Andrea sent a scan of some similar fabric she has, but she noted:
The coloring in my fabric seemed somewhat different from yours… Is it the same or different?It is different. The most noticeable differences are details in the portrait and the color in the leaves in the wreath. Her leaves are overprinted with blue and yellow, a typical way to obtain green with natural dyes. The registration (overlap of colors) is off, a clue to a print before 1860 or so.
I think Andrea may have the original of that portrait print, probably from about 1830, a pretty rare item.
Marquis de Lafayette by Charles Wilson PealeBut I haven't felt good about that being Lafayette. Why do we think it is him being depicted on fabric about 1830 and again 40 years later?
It's because the standard reference says it's him. Herbert Ridgway Collins was curator of textiles at the Smithsonian when he wrote the book on the topic in 1979. Threads of History showed a swatch of the Centennial print with the caption that it's a portrait of Lafayette.
Apparently the Magazine Antiques showed a piece with that identification in the 1940s. Textile historian Florence Peto wrote a letter to her friend Elizabeth Richardson
January 16, 1945
Antiques showed that print one time too and published some speculation about it. Most people think it represents Lafayette; and that the cotton was to celebrate his second visit to America in 1824. I did a great deal of hard research on that cotton, trying to identify the portrait. I was one who questioned the identification of Lafayette. Why is he in an American uniform of the 1812 period? The uniform is that of our naval heroes of that period. But the face doesn't match any portrait I could find in an NY or NJ library or museum or historical society…
I saw that letter in the Richardson Collection at the department of Manuscripts and Archives at the Kentucky Library and Museum last summer. I made a mental note to see if I could clear up the confusion. Like most of my mental notes it was completely forgotten.
But when I saw Andrea's fabric with a clearer portrait I realized it was President Andrew Jackson. Because of the internet I didn't have to do a "great deal of hard research." I spent about 20 minutes scrolling through portraits of Jackson and Lafayette.
Andrew Jackson by Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl, 1817
This portrait by his friend Earl shows Jackson as the hero of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, when he was nearing 50.
There were many differences in uniforms of a General in the Revolution and a General in the War of 1812. Both feature gold shoulder epaulettes but Jackson's has a high collar with gold frogging.
The Earl portrait may be the basis of the toile depicting Jackson that is thought to be a celebration of his inauguration as President in 1829. Note the braid to the right of the buttons.
Older print on left about 1830
Newer one on right about 1876
The toile may have inspired the smaller-scale multi-color calico on the left, about the same time, with gold epaulettes, frogging and buttons.
Florence Peto worked so hard to find a likeness of Jackson that matched the cotton print. If only she'd had the internet. Read more about her at the Quilt Show by clicking here:
The paintings are from the National Portrait Gallery.